Owl Spirit Animal Guide: Extraordinary Super-Powers

Owl Spirit Animal

Owl Spirit Animal

Owls are exceptional birds. Indeed, they are exceptional beings. They possess special powers that other birds and animals, including humans, do not. If you are drawn to owls, you are feeling the power of the owl spirit animal.

Your spirit animal serves as a guide, bringing you messages from the Universe to help guide you on your human life path and in your soul’s journey.

According to many Native American traditions, you don’t necessarily choose your spirit animals. Rather, they choose you. If an owl makes him or herself known to you, whether in real life or through art, the media, or elsewhere – pay attention. There are no coincidences.

The Owl Spirit Guide

The owl can teach you about your existence, your perceptions and your behavior, as well as your purpose in this lifetime. Animals, including spirit animals, exist of their own accord. They are not here for us. But like all relationships, they have something to teach us.

While many of us have not had the opportunity to see an owl in the wild, we can still get to know them through the work of wildlife biologists, filmmakers, artists, and owl protection organizations who can help us understand them better.

How do you know if the owl is your spirit animal?

If you are wondering if the owl is your spirit animal, consider the following questions. As you read this post, you will learn more about owls, so it will become more clear to you. And if you already know, you may learn some new things about owls that will help guide you on your life path. There is always more we can learn about these wise beings.

Two owls and a full moon

If you answer yes to many of the questions below, you may consider the owl as one of your spirit animals.

  • Were you especially interested in owls as child?
  • Has an owl somehow made himself or herself known to you, whether it’s crossing your path in real life or in art or the media, in a way that powerfully riveted your attention?
  • Do you feel a strong connection to owls, and do you experience an unadulterated feeling of wonder when you see them or hear about them?
  • Has an owl or owls entered your dreams?
  • Do you tend to be awake at night, either up later than most people or up much earlier in morning, when most people are asleep? In other words, are you a night owl?
  • Are there stories, books, or movies that involved an owl or owls that had a strong impact on you and stayed with you?
  • Are you intuitive? Have friends or family ever called you insightful or even psychic?
  • Do people often come to you for advice, such as how to make the next move in their life or what they should do in a given situation?
  • Are you the type of person who is quiet unless you have something important to say, as opposed to the types of people who like to chatter and make small talk?

If you answered yes to these questions, pay attention because you have a deep connection to the owl power animal!

 

Owl Traits

If you are especially drawn to owls, and their unique traits have a special resonance with you, they are worth understanding better. Owls are unusual birds, possessing special powers that some might even describe as super-powers, which other birds, animals, and humans lack. Here are some of those unique traits:

Skilled Hunters

Blakiston's fish owl (Bubo blakistoni)
After consuming two fish from a stream, a Blakiston’s fish owl (Bubo blakistoni) flies off with a third fish to give to his mate who is waiting in a tree nearby. Photo: Julie Edgley.

As birds of prey, owls are exceptionally skilled hunters. No doubt, this is one of the reasons they are found all over the world. Except for the threat they face from human activity, they have evolved over eons to be successful in their natural habitats and they have adapted to living in a variety of environments.

What are your unique powers?

If the owl is resonating with you, he or she may be asking you to explore whether you are tapping into your innate aptitudes. Owls have evolved to be successful all over the world because they use all of their innate gifts to thrive. Human beings also come into this world with a combination of unique aptitudes that sets them apart from other people.

You may have better listening skills than others, you may be more empathetic, or you may have a knack for quantitative analysis. The key is to understand your natural abilities and to use them. They are your gifts to the world. If you’re not sure what your aptitudes are or how they might be used in a professional sense, check out the Johnson O’Connor Research Foundation, a nonprofit where you can go for professional, in depth aptitude testing.

Independent Thinkers

An owl being mobbed by other birds
An owl being mobbed by other birds. Engraving: F. Place. Circa 1690.

Owls hunt independently, but they will roost with other owls not only to mate, but to stay warm and learn about good hunting grounds. If the owl spirit animal resonates with you, you are probably a person who enjoys your independence and working on your own. You may even live alone. But you still enjoy the comfort and stimulation of being with others from time to time.

Withstanding the Mob

Because owls are such successful birds of prey, they are feared by other birds. Owls are threatening to other birds, so other birds, even of different species, will group up and attack an owl, which wildlife biologists refer to as mobbing.

Yet, often the owl will not react to the harassment. And rarely are owls physically hurt in these attacks. Sometimes the mobbing will cause the owl to leave an area, but that’s usually the extent of it.

Stay true to yourself and your ideas.

If the owl is your power animal, remember to stay true to your ideas, even if the crowd is skeptical or downright mean. Even if the crowd makes fun of you, your ideas, and your differences, and treats you like an outcast, don’t let them ruffle your feathers. As the Mark Twain once said, “Everyone with an idea is a crank until the idea succeeds.”

The owl spirit animal represents the free thinker, the oddball, and the quintessential entrepreneur. Owls see things that others do not. They have special powers that other birds lack, which causes jealousy. Yet, they hold true to their ideas and visions, despite the negativity and harassment from naysayers.

Not the Best Nest Builders

A pair of scops owlets in a hold in a tree
A pair of scops owlets (family Strigidae) in a hole in a tree. Photo: Mahabala India.

While owls have been described as having super-powers, they are not the best nest builders, according to the Owl Research Institute. But perhaps it’s not so much a lack of skill as it is that nest building takes a needless amount of work? After all, why build a nest from scratch when there are so many other pre-made possibilities out there?

Owls are known to take the nests that other birds have built. Great horned owls will use vacant nests in trees or on cliffs that were built by hawks, crows, magpies, or other birds. Other owls will nest in holes or hollows in trees, which may occur naturally or have been drilled out by woodpeckers.

As their name implies, burrowing owls will nest in underground tunnels that have already been dug by ground squirrels, prairie dogs, badgers, or other burrowing animals.

Still other owls nest in human-made structures, such as abandoned buildings or the rafters in barns, hence the name “barn owl.”

What does home mean to you?

If the owl is your spirit animal, you may be a perpetual Air BnB-er who loves staying in different people’s homes just for the variety. You are probably not the type of person to buy a piece of land so you can build your dream house. Why go to all that work when there are so many other beautiful places that have already been built? Or perhaps you love hotel life and all of the ease and convenience that it provides?

For some of us, the owl spirit animal may have selected us to remind us that we are over-investing in our homes. Perhaps we are putting too much time, money, and energy into our homes at the expense of the rest of our lives? The owl reminds us that a vast wonderful world of relationships and places to explore exists beyond our home.

Territorial and Courageous

An owl defending her owlets from an attacking eagle
An owl defending her owlets from an attacking eagle. Engraving: F. Place. Circa 1690.

While owls are opportunists when it comes to finding a nest, once they are there, they will fiercely protect it while they raise their owlets. According to the Owl Research Institute, male owls will find and advertise a territory that is theirs. But the female owl will select the actual nesting spot. Then together, the owl couple will defend their nest for several months, particularly when they have young owlets to look after.

Owls show tremendous courage when protecting their nests. They will attack other birds of prey, and they are not above attacking people. In the film The Owl Documentary, an owl is seen divebombing a wolf fearlessly and repeatedly as it infringes on the owl’s territory. The wolf lunges at the owl, but the owl is not curtailed and attacks again.

Put those near and dear to you first.

The owl spirit animal reminds you to put your family first, above all else. Your children will only be young for so long, and while they are still vulnerable, you must protect them at all odds and from all potential threats.

If an owl makes him or herself known to you, it may be a sign that you need to reaffirm boundaries, whether social, psychological, spiritual, or physical to protect your nuclear family and sacred family time. The owl reminds us of what quality time with loved ones truly means.

The owl spirit also asks you whether you are prioritizing your important relationships. Are you giving enough quality time to your significant other? Have you ensured that life at home is secure and serene? Are you giving enough of yourself? The human world is full of distractions. The owl spirit reminds us to get back to basics.

Keen Eyesight and Nighttime Vision

Short-eared owl (Asio flammeus) in flight
Short-eared owl (Asio flammeus) in flight. Photo: Dominic Sherony.

One of the owl’s most extraordinary gifts is their keen eyesight. Their powerful sense of sight is one of the unique qualities that sets owls apart from other birds, animals, and humans. According to the Audubon Society, a northern hawk owl can see a vole, which is a rodent that’s a relative to lemmings and hamsters, from as far as a half a mile away.

Like humans’ eyes, owls’ eyes face forward in their skulls. This may be one of the reasons we relate to owls so much. However, unlike us, in some species of owls, their eyes take up 70 percent of their skulls. Our eyes take up just 5 percent of our skulls.

Nighttime Vision

But owls have something else that’s exceptional about their eyesight: They can see in the dark. This sets them apart from other birds of prey. In the dark, owls see things 2.5 times more brightly than humans do. Thus, owls can successfully hunt at night while avoiding obstacles. Undoubtedly, this is why owls are so often associated with the night in art and literature: They are truly nocturnal creatures.

Powerful Intuition

If the owl is your spirit animal, you may have a keen sense of insight that might be described as psychic. You can see things that others do not, and you are aware of things that others are not. You may even have the gift of prophecy. If you have such gifts, it is your purpose and challenge in this lifetime to bring others along with you, to guide them in the darkness so they can see the light.

The owl also brings the gift of hope. The owl can see light where others only feel lost in the darkness. And this is what a lightworker does here on Earth. The challenge is to “show people the light,” to gently help them find their way.

Ability to See 270 Degrees

Great horned owl (Bubo virginianus)
Great horned owl (Bubo virginianus). Photo: Andy Reago and Chrissy McClarren.

It cannot be forgotten that in addition to their super-powered gift of sight, owls can also see in every direction: Their heads can turn 270 degrees.

Owls have special adaptations in their necks that enable their blood vessels to not get cut off when they turn their heads. And they also have a blood reservoir in their heads that provides blood to the brain when they turn their heads, when circulation would otherwise get cut off.

Seeing Things from All Perspectives

The owl power animal reminds you to see things from all sides, as there are always multiple points of view on any given topic. A truly evolved and intelligent being is able to view a matter from different perspectives. In addition, having this insight gives you the ability understand how history and the past impact the present and will the future. The owl power animal also reminds us to tap into our reserves of intelligence and the gift of perspective.

Powerful Memories

Another uncanny ability that owls possess is having very powerful memories. This is undoubtedly one of the reasons they are considered to be so wise. The owl is able to create a mental map of their territory, which enables them to safely fly around and take advantage of the nighttime world, then find their way home.

This is yet another way that the owl spirit animal serves as a guide, and how owl people have been chosen to guide others. The owl power animal reminds you to hold on to your memories and to share them, perhaps in memoirs, oral storytelling, or songs.

Acute Hearing

As if having powerful sight is not enough, owls have also been blessed with acute hearing. They can hear before they are hatched from their eggs, and they have sharp hearing into adulthood. An owl can hear prey even when it’s hidden under snow.

A miracle of nature, the owl’s entire head has evolved for listening. According to the Audubon Society, many species of owls have asymmetrical ears. Each ear is located at different heights on the owl’s head. This enables the owl to pinpoint the location of sounds from multiple directions. Furthermore, at certain frequencies, owls’ hearing is 10 times more powerful than our hearing.

An Observant Listener

If the owl spirit has called to you, you have the potential to be an observant listener. You may have an aptitude for music, languages, or accents. You may also be able to decipher the truth from lies when words flow out of people’s lips. The owl spirit hears and knows things, even when they cannot be seen. The owl teaches us to look past the surface and to listen for what is actually going on.

Agile and Stealth Flying Skills

Snowy owl (Bubo scandiacus) in flight
Snowy owl (Bubo scandiacus) in flight. Photo: Bert de Tilly.

Another of the owl’s super-powers is their special flying skills. They are able to take off vertically from a standstill, a skill they use to defend their nests from other birds of prey, or to quickly get out of harm’s way.

Silent Flight

The other aspect to the owl’s unique flying skills is that they are able to fly silently, generating very little turbulence. The owl has special noise-reducing fringes on their wings that enable them to fly with limited air movement.

The owl power animal tells you to move with grace in this world, to avoid causing a commotion, and to protect your privacy. Perhaps you’re being too boisterous and domineering. You may be over-sharing. Perhaps it’s time to utilize more discretion in your activities.

Learning to Fly

What’s important to keep in mind is that owls are not born knowing how to fly. They must learn how to fly, and they must practice flying. While flying is natural to them, as it is for dolphins to swim, owlets when they are learning to fly must take a leap of faith from their nest to begin. And they get better at flying with practice.

The owl spirit teaches us not to squander our gifts. To fully utilize our gifts and reach our maximum potential on the Earthly plane, we must hone our skills. This involves practice. When we look at great artists, musicians, athletes, speakers, surgeons, or other successful people, we might think they come upon their success by luck and their natural gifts. Certainly, those two things play a role, but a dedication to craft, the ritual of practice, and continual improvement is what sets them apart.

 

Owl Symbolism and Meaning

Owls have meant different things to different cultures throughout history. There are over 240 species of owls, and they exist on every continent on Earth except Antarctica. So, it’s not surprising that these special beings have made their way into the myths, folklore, and artwork of different cultures throughout the ages.

While owls exist of their own accord, they have meaning to us as human beings on multiple levels. They are fellow species with whom we share our existence on this planet, and they have held symbolic meaning to humans all over the world for centuries.

Owl symbolism and meanings vary by culture, geography, and period in history. The following are some examples.

Owls in Greek Mythology

The Greek Goddess Athena, who was the virgin goddess of wisdom, was always accompanied by a small owl. Even Minerva, who was Athena’s later incarnation in Roman mythology, was accompanied by an owl. Such owls were hence referred to as the Owl of Athena or the Owl of Minerva.

The Greek goddess Athena with her little owl.
The Greek goddess Athena holding a helmet and spear with her little owl. Circa 490 – 480 BC. Image: Metropolitan Museum of Art, Rogers Fund.

Owl symbolism from ancient Greece has carried over to the modern western world, thus owls still symbolize “knowledge, wisdom, perspicacity, and erudition” to modern humans, says the Owl Pages.

According to Owl Pages, Athena was so impressed by the great eyes and solemn appearance of the owl that she banished the mischievous crow and the owl became her favorite bird.

Owls as Protectors

It’s written that owls protected the Acropolis, and indeed, historical biology shows us that there were many owls in ancient Athens. The ancient Greeks believed that a magical inner light gave owls night vision.

Owls also protected Greek warriors when they went into battle. According to the Owl Pages, “the owl was a protector, accompanying Greek armies to war, and providing ornamental inspiration for their daily lives. If an owl flew over Greek soldiers before a battle, they took it as a sign of victory.”

Owl Symbolism in Ancient Rome

By the time of the Roman Empire, owls were viewed in a more negative light. To the ancient Romans, hearing the hoot of an owl meant that death was imminent. And interestingly, this belief was not unique to the Romans. Over 5,000 miles away in what would become North America, many Native American tribes shared the same belief.

The deaths of Julius Caesar and the emperors Augustus and Commodus Aurelius were all predicted by owls.

Here is a quote from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar:

“And yesterday the bird of night did sit
Even at noonday upon the market-place,
Hooting and shrieking. When these prodigies
Do so conjointly meet, let not men say
‘These are their reasons, they are natural,’
For, I believe, they are portentous things
Unto the climate that they point upon.”

Owls in the Bible

Owls were not seen positively in the bible either, which most likely has played a role in why they are associated with scary things today, such as Halloween. But as is the case with so many other things in the Bible, that which was misunderstood was often feared.

In the Bible, owls were seen as unclean and not fit for human consumption. According to Emmanuel Isaiah Smith, founder of EIS Media Group and the Bible Discourses Collection, in the Bible, owls are compared to dragons, bats, and ravens.

Babylonian goddess with owls and lions
A Babylonian goddess, possibly Ishtar or her sisters Ereshkigal or Lilitu, with owls and lions. Circa 1800-1750 BC. Image: Aiwok.

And in the Book of Isaiah, Chapter 34, Verse 13, under King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, the kingdom of Edom would experience a land filled with dragons, owls, unicorns, vultures, and cormorants – creatures that all symbolized desolation and disobedience in the Bible. An interesting side note is that the Egyptian hieroglyph for Edom contains an owl.

Symbols of Loneliness

Owls were also symbols of great loneliness and loss in the Bible. Here is quote from Psalm 102:6-7:

“I am like a desert owl,
like an owl among the ruins.
I lie awake; I have become
like a bird alone on a roof.”

Owl Symbolism in Africa

Unfortunately, owls were not positive symbols in African folklore either. According to the website Owlcation, East Africans believed that owls brought illnesses to children. And Cameroonians referred to the owl as “the bird that makes you afraid.”

Owls were also associated with sorcery and witchcraft in a number of African cultures. In the same way that Native Americans saw wolves, Africans believed that owls traveled freely between the material world and the spiritual world.

As with Roman and Native American mythology, in Africa, the hoot of an owl presaged something negative to come.

Owls in Celtic Mythology and English Folklore

I love the Celts, they are my roots, but my, they were a superstitious lot. Our beloved owl symbolized some strange things to the ancient Celts. The owl spirit animal did not get the respect she deserved from my ancestors, I’m sorry to say.

The most positive image of the owl in Celtic mythology is of the owl as sacred to the Goddess in her crone (or old woman) aspect, according to the Living Library Blog. Barn owls are called Cauilleach-oidhche gheal, which means “white old woman of the night.” And the Cauilleach is the goddess of death. Thus, the screech of an owl, also in Celtic mythology, was an omen that someone was about to die.

There is a Welsh myth in the Mabinogion stories about Blodeuwedd, who was the goddess of betrayal. Blodeuwedd is always associated with an owl. In the story, the magician Gwydion creates Blodeuwedd from flowers. The intention is that she will be a gift for Prince Llew Llaw Gyffes.

Unfortunately, Blodeuwedd decides to have an affair with a man named Goronwy. And together, they plot to kill Prince Llew. When Prince Llew dies, he is transformed into an eagle. But the magician Gwydion steps in again and returns Llew to his human form.

Now Prince Llew wants revenge (as human so often do.) But instead of killing Blodeuwedd, he has Gwydion turned her into a white owl who will haunt the night in “loneliness and sorrow.”

Gwydion says:

“I will not slay thee, but I will do unto thee worse than that. For I will turn thee into a bird; and because of the shame thou hast done unto Llew Llaw Gyffes, thou shalt never show thy face in the light of day henceforth; and that through fear of all other birds. For it shall be their nature to attack thee, and to chase thee from wheresoever they may find thee.”

I love myths and folklore, but all I can say is, thank God for modern day science and thank God for the Native Americans.

Owls in Native American Culture

A Blackfoot medicine man known as Medicine Owl
A Blackfoot medicine man known as Medicine Owl wearing a ceremonial headdress and blanket, holding a decorated spear. Glacier National Park, Montana, circa 1912 – 1915. Image: University of Washington.

As they revered nature and so many living beings, the Native Americans also revered the owl. It’s true that like so many other cultures around the world, some Native American tribes believed the cry of an owl was the harbinger of death. Owls were also associated with the nighttime and nighttime spirits.

According to the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, many tribes believed that medicine men could shape-shift into animals, and commonly an owl. Owl medicine could be used for negative consequences or for a person’s benefit.

A number of tribes seemed to be especially fearful of horned owls – those with the feathers that stuck up on the sides of their heads like horns. And some tribes believed owls were never real birds at all, but instead were shape-shifters.

For the Lakota, Cherokee, Blackfoot, and Caddo tribes, it was believed that medicine men gained insight from clear dreams at night, thanks to the powerful sight of the owl. Thus, these medicine men wore owl feathers and vowed to never harm an owl.

Owl Dreams

The Lenape tribe revered the owl spirit animal. They believed that if one dreamed of an owl, it meant the owl was now their guardian and guide.

The Hopis, according to the site Native Languages, called the great horned owl Mongwu. In Hopi storytelling, Mongwu was the enforcer or lawman – the straight man playing the foil to the comedic Koshari clowns.

So, it appears that every culture has their buffoons. For many Native Americans, their clowns had the serious power of curing diseases. And indeed, Western medicine is finally catching up to realize how bad stress is for people and how healthy it is to laugh.

In other Native American legends, birds that were around during the daytime were considered “bumbling good-for-nothings” who don’t have what it takes to be up at night like the owl.

The tribes of the American and Canadian northwest coast have owls carved into their totem poles. And the Creek tribe has dances for both screech owls and horned owls. Virtually every Native American tribe has owls in their legends and stories.

Owl Clans

Certain Native American tribes have Owl Clans, just as they have Bear Clans and Wolf Clans, in addition to other animal clans. Native American nations (or tribes) are comprised of different clans, and each clan is associated with an animal. Your clan is the clan of your mother, not your father.

The Hopi tribe has an Owl Clan, as do the Tlingit and the Mohave tribes.

The Hopis saw the burrowing owl as their god of the dead, as well as the guardian of their fires, and the tender of all underground things, including the germination of seeds. The Hopi call burrowing owls Ko’ko, which means “watcher of the dark.” The Hopi also believed that great horned owls helped their peaches to grow.

The Tlingit tribe believed the owl helped them in battle. When warriors went into battle, they hooted like owls to gain confidence and to put fear into the hearts of their enemies.

And the Mojave tribe believed that they would become an owl after they died, and then they would transform into a water beetle, before evolving into pure air.

The Kwakiutl tribe believed that owls were the souls of people who have passed, and thus they should not be harmed. If an owl was killed, it would mean that the person to whom the soul belonged would also die.

In all, many Native American tribes believed that owls held ancient knowledge and were therefore the carriers of mystical wisdom. Is it a coincidence that the word “owl” is contained in the word “knowledge”?

 

Owl Quotes

Owls have had a strong impression upon people throughout the ages. Here are some quotes that reflect that.

“An owl is traditionally a symbol of wisdom, so we are neither doves nor hawks but owls, and we are vigilant when others are resting.
– Urjit Patel

“It was the owl that shrieked, the fatal bellman, which gives the sternest good night.”
– William Shakespeare, Macbeth

“The clamorous owl, that nightly hoots and wonders, at our quaint spirits.”
– William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream

“If we don’t preserve forest habitat for spotted owls, then soon we won’t have trees to refresh the air we breathe.
– Sam Keen

“An owl sound wandered along the road with me. I didn’t hear it. I breathed it into my ears.”
– William Stafford

“I’m a night owl.”
– Joni Mitchell

“When cats run home and light is come,
And dew is cold upon the ground,
And the far-off stream is dumb,
And the whirring sail goes round,
And the whirring sail goes round;
Alone and warming his five wits,
The white owl in the belfry sits.”
–Alfred Tennyson, Song the Owl

“Then lady Cynthia, mistress of the shade,
Goes, with the fashionable owls to bed.”
– Edward Young, Love of Fame

“The owl is the wisest of all birds because the more it sees the less it talks.
–Nigerian Proverb

“Why should I copy this owl, this sea urchin? Why should I try to imitate nature? I might just as well try to trace a perfect circle.”
–Pablo Picasso

“Do you think I was born in a wood to be afraid of an owl?”
–Jonathan Swift

“Don’t count your owls before they are delivered.
― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

“There was a wise old owl who sat in a treeThe less he spoke the more he heard
The more he heard the less he spoke
Why can’t we be like that wise old owl in the tree?
Speech must die to serve that which is spoken.
– Paul Ricoeur

“Owls are known as lonely birds; but it is not known that they have the forest as their best friend.”
–Mehmet Murat Ildan

“Midnight is another planet! When the clock strikes twelve and if you are asleep, wake up, friend, and discover the beauties of this new planet: Discover the silence; discover the tranquility; speak to the owls, speak to the moon; greet the hedgehogs and disappear in the midst of the mists!”
– Mehmet Murat Ildan

“In the enemy’s territory, be as silent as the owl’s wings; in friend’s territory, be as cheerful as the nightingale’s songs.”
– Mehmet Murat Ildan

“I have learned that one of the most important rules in politics is poise, which means looking like an owl after you have behaved like a jackass.
– Ronald Reagan

“The thing about owls is that they do sort of have this facial disc, which is unlike any other bird. They kind of have a face, more than like a dog or a giraffe. They have this weird, alien face that you can actually make expressive.”
– Zack Snyder

“There was an old man with a beard, who said: ‘It is just as I feared! Two owls and a hen, four larks and a wren have all built their nests in my beard.”
– Edward Lear

“The owl and the pussycat went to sea,
In a beautiful pea green boat.
They took some honey, and plenty of money,
Wrapped up in a five pound note.”
– Edward Lear

“She is our moon. Our tidal pull. She is the rich deep beneath the sea, the buried treasure, the expression in the owl’s eye, the perfume in the wild rose. She is what the water says when it moves.”
–Patricia A. McKillip

 

Books and Stories About Owls

Owls have been depicted in literature, folklore, film, and music throughout history. Here are some books with and about owls.

Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter stories by J.K. RowlingIs it a coincidence that J.K. Rowling has the word “owl” in her name? The Harry Potter stories have brought renewed fascination and reverence for owls. A great reference about the owls in the Harry Potter stories is Laura Erickson’s For the Birds blog.

Buy on Amazon >>

I Heard the Owl Call My Name by Margaret Craven

I Heard the Owl Call My Name by Margaret CravenI Heard the Owl Call My Name is a best-seller that takes place in the mid-1960s. It’s the story of a young Anglican vicar who goes to live in a Native American village in British Columbia. I won’t give away what happens, but it’s a must-read.

Buy on Amazon >>

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. LewisPublished in the 1950s, The Chronicles of Narnia is a series of seven fantasy novels by C. S. Lewis. Like Harry Potter, both children and adults enjoy these stories filled with magic, mythical beasts, and talking animals (including owls.)

Buy on Amazon >>

Owls of the World: A Photographic Guide by Heimo Mikkola

Owls of the World: A Photographic Guide by Heimo MikkolaOwls of the World is a comprehensive guide full of beautiful photos that every owl lover should have on their coffee table.

Buy on Amazon >>

The Hidden Lives of Owls: The Science and Spirit of Nature’s Most Elusive Birds by Leigh Calvez
The Hidden Lives of OwlsA New York Times bestseller, the Hidden Lives of Owls helps us to understand these mystical birds better and how our lives as humans are so interconnected with them.

Buy on Amazon >>

 

Movies with Owls

Owls Documentary
This is a lovely documentary from Clifford Garrard about owls that taught me a great deal as I endeavored to write this post.

Owls and Their Calls
This documentary from Kees Vanger chronicles owls and their different “hoot” styles.

These resources list movies with owls:

IMDB

Best for Film

Talk Film Society

 

Owl T-Shirts

What’s a great way to show the world that you’re an owl person and to bring more awareness about owls to others? An owl t-shirt made with organic cotton or recycled materials! Here are a few:

Spotted Owl T-ShirtBuy on Etsy >>

Fair Trade Organic Cotton Owl T-ShirtBuy on Etsy >>

Organic Cotton and Bamboo Rayon Owl T-ShirtBuy on Etsy >>

Organic Cotton Owl T-ShirtBuy on Etsy >>

 

Are Owls Endangered?

Experts at the UN have warned us that one million species around the world are on the brink of extinction. While not every owl species is considered formally endangered, like so many wild animals with whom we share our planet, owls are threatened because of human activity.

Owl that are currently on the Endangered Species List include:

Seychelles scops owl – Otus magicus (=insularis) insularis
Anjouan scops owl – Otus rutilus capnodes
Giant scops owl – Mimizuku (=Otus) gurneyi
Northern spotted owl – Strix occidentalis caurina
Mexican spotted owl – Strix occidentalis lucida
Madagascar red owl – Tyto soumagnei

In addition to the owl species listed above, according to the World Atlas, these are the other species of owls that are at-risk of becoming extinct:

Moheli scops owl – Otus moheliensis
Karthala scops owl – Otus pauliani
Pernambuco pygmy owl – Glaucidium mooreorum
Siau scops owl – Otus siaoensis
Forest owlet – Heteroglaux blewitti
Blakiston’s fish owl – Ketupa blakistoni
Biak scops owl – Otus beccarii
Congo bay owl – Phodilus prigoginei
Sokoke scops owl – Otus ireneae
Serendib scops owl – Otus thilohoffmanni
Long-whiskered owlet – Xenoglaux loweryi
Taliabu masked owl – Tyto nigrobrunnea

 

Organizations that Protect Owls

If you care about owls, please support organizations that are working to protect them. Here are a few:

Audubon Society

Owl Research Institute

Burrowing Owl Conservation Network

Center for Biological Diversity

Defenders of Wildlife

World Wildlife Foundation

3 of the Best “Tuna” Salad Recipes Ever (They’re Vegan!)

Vegan Tuna Salad by Sweet Potato Soul
Photo: Sweet Potato Soul

Tuna salad is a favorite food for a lot of people, and as it’s packed with protein and omega 3 oils, many think of it as a healthy food. You don’t have to click too far to find a ton of recipes claiming to be the best tuna salad recipe ever. You can find traditional tuna salad sandwiches sold at virtually any mini market or sandwich shop in America. Tuna salad is a crowd-pleaser for sure, but is it really healthy? Read our blog post “Is Tuna Good for You?” and you’ll think twice about ever eating it again. This is why we set out to find the best vegan “tuna” salad recipes we could find. A lot of people love the taste of tuna salad, so we wanted to offer some delicious vegan alternatives that don’t have the many drawbacks that eating real tuna fish does.

I was a vegetarian for three decades before I became completely (and consistently) vegan a few years ago. When I was a vegetarian, I was pretty much vegan except that certain foods were really hard to resist – namely pizza and baked goods, like scones and cookies. But over the past few years, vegan foods have come into their own, and it’s not too hard to find delicious vegan pizzas and baked treats, whether they’re in the prepared food sections or the frozen food aisle at healthy grocery stores. Going back to when I was a vegetarian, there was one food that was also hard to resist – and that was tuna salad sandwiches. Thankfully, today’s vegan chefs are making it easier to replicate tuna salad with delicious plant-based alternatives that are far healthier for you and a lot more environmentally sustainable.

If you’re having trouble giving up eating fish, all I can ask is that you give at least one of these plant-based tuna salads a try. You may be pleasantly surprised.

1. Vegan Chickpea “Tuna” Salad by Sweet Potato Soul

Vegan Chickpea "Tuna" Salad Recipe by Sweet Potato Soul
Photo: Sweet Potato Soul

Jenné Claiborne, the creator of Sweet Potato Soul, has so many delicious vegan recipes on her site that it’s hard to decide where to start. She’s got a cookbook out with 100 vegan recipes inspired by her southern roots: Sweet Potato Soul: for the Southern Flavors of Smoke, Sugar, Spice, and Soul, which you can get on Amazon. And be sure to visit her site at SweetPotatoSoul.com.

Her Vegan Chickpea “Tuna” Salad recipe is a classic that’s bound to win over any traditional tuna salad lover. She provides two versions, one of which has avocado in it. Why not make both? Yum!

Here’s her video on how to make it:

2. Mock Tuna Salad by Cooking with Plants

Vegan Mock Tuna Salad Sandwich by Cooking with Plants
Photo: Cooking with Plants

Anja Cass, founder of Cooking with Plants, could entice anyone to go vegan with her delicious and healthy vegan recipes, and she can inspire anyone too. Years ago, when dealing with low energy and health challenges, including a heart aneurysm, she sought out a healthier way of existing. She picked up a copy of The China Study and it changed her life. She says she went vegan almost “overnight,” and subsequently lost 50 pounds in four months.

Her Mock Vegan Tuna Salad recipe is easy to make and has a plant-based taste of the sea. It incorporates miso paste, sweet and sour pickle juice, and nori. Plus, it includes raw sunflower seeds and jackfruit. Check out Anja’s video, and be sure to visit her site for more recipes at CookingWithPlants.com.

3. Non-Tuna Tuna by Aqiyl

Non-Tuna Tuna Salad Recipe by Aqiyl
Photo: Aqiyl Anis

Aqiyl Aniys is the author of several books that focus on plant-based eating. He has a certificate from Cornell on plant-based nutrition and his alkaline Non-Tuna Tuna Salad recipe takes a different spin on vegan tuna salad. It incorporates walnuts, tomato, and key limes. Check out Aqiyl’s video, and you can find more info on his website AqiylAniys.com. You can find his books on plant-based eating on Amazon.

If these over-the-top delicious vegan tuna salad recipes haven’t distracted you yet, and you’re still thinking about the old kind of tuna salad, then do check out our post:

Is Tuna Good for You?

Hopefully it will bring you to the vegan side! Be well and enjoy!

By Kristen M. Stanton

Is Tuna Good for You?

Bluefin Tuna
Photo: Bluefin Tuna

The answer is: no. And it’s not good for other people or other species either.

Humans have been eating tuna for a long time. According to the journal New Scientist, people have been deep sea fishing for tuna for 42,000 years. But just because we’ve been doing something for a long time, doesn’t necessarily mean we should keep doing it.

Unfortunately, a lot has happened to the Earth and its oceans over those centuries – notably in the most recent one. There are a number of extremely compelling reasons for why we should stop eating tuna now.

5 Reasons Why We Should Not Eat Tuna

1. Tuna contains mercury, which is toxic for humans.

Eating contaminated fish is the number one cause of mercury exposure in America, says the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC.) And what’s the problem with mercury? Quite simply, it’s toxic to us and therefore causes a host of problems.

According to a study published by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, “chronic exposure, even to low concentration levels of mercury, can cause cardiovascular, reproductive, and developmental toxicity, neurotoxicity, nephrotoxicity, immunotoxicity, and carcinogenicity” in humans. The study found a link between mercury toxicity and heart disease. A study published by the American Heart Association confirmed this. It found that men with the highest levels of mercury increased their risk for heart disease by 60% and their risk of dying of a heart attack by 70%. (Source: PETA.)

Mercury gets into fish when it’s emitted into the air from factories and coal-burning plants, and then it settles into our waterways. Large predatory fish – like tuna – have high concentrations of mercury in their bodies because they eat high on the food chain, consuming organisms and other fish that have absorbed mercury themselves. While the EPA says that adults can eat canned light tuna every three or four days, the NRDC says that children should avoid eating fish altogether and that women of childbearing age should stick to no more than four ounces per week. It begs the question – why eat it at all, especially if there are good-tasting alternatives, like vegan mock tuna salad recipes?

2. Eating tuna is contributing to human slavery. Yep, you heard that right.

Thai Commercial Fishing
Photo: The Environmental Justice Foundation via One Green Planet

In a story by One Green Planet, a report by the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) stated that “international demand for cheap seafood is driving the degradation of marine ecosystems as well as fueling human trafficking in Thailand.”

How is this happening? Thailand is the third largest seafood exporter in the world, and the drop in fish populations has caused Thai fisherman to resort to desperate measures to reach quotas to make ends meet. Thai fishing boats are now catching only 15% of what they caught 50 years ago. As a result, they’re having to travel further to find fish, and they’re having to resort to illegal fishing practices to do so. All the while, they’re making less money for their effort.

The work is so brutal that many Thai refuse to do it, so commercial fishing companies are relying on more desperate measures to get workers. According to the United Nations Inter-Agency Project on Human Trafficking (UNIAP), 33% of seafood workers in Thailand have been trafficked, and 57% have experienced forced labor.

What does this have to do with the tuna sandwich you just bought at that convenience store? Thirty-nine percent of the wild-caught seafood that enters the U.S. market is illegally harvested in Thailand. And tuna and shrimp are the top two fish that enter the U.S. from Thailand. There’s no doubt that in our global economy, we have to find more innovative and humane ways for people to be treated and to be able to earn a living wage.

3. Tuna fishing still kills dolphins (and other marine life.)

Two Dolphins
Photo: Dolphins in the Atlantic Ocean

Tuna and dolphins swim together. It’s believed they do so because they prey on the same food and also possibly as a defense mechanism against common predators. In fact, many commercial fishing operations will look for dolphins in order to catch tuna. In Japan, commercial fishers kill large numbers of dolphins because they want to destroy the competition for dwindling tuna supplies.

In addition, dolphins and other marine life, including whales, sharks, sea turtles, and others, get killed when they’re trapped in fishing nets from commercial fishing operations. The National Academy of Sciences estimates that at least 100,000 dolphins are killed in the U.S. alone every year from tuna fishing.

4. Tuna fishing kills tuna – and they’re on the brink of extinction.

A study by the International Scientific Committee for Tuna and Tuna-like Species in the North Pacific Ocean showed that “after heavy fishing in the 1950s, the bluefin tuna population crashed in the 1960s, and computer models estimated the current population at only 2.6% of what it would have been around 1900 before large-scale fishing.”

Despite this, the Trump Administration has refused to put the Pacific bluefin tuna on the Endangered Species List. While other types of tuna are used in tuna salad recipes, many of those are included in The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s “red list” in its Seafood Watch Guide.

The red list includes 57 types of tuna that should be avoided because of overfishing and the risk of collapse for not just tuna populations, but the ecosystems of which they’re an integral part. For the most part, the Aquarium only recommends eating tuna that is line caught. Isn’t it easier to just make a vegan tuna salad sandwich and go about your day?

5. Vegan “tuna” salad is delicious.

Vegan Kid

And now the easiest reason to give up eating tuna fish: Delicious alternatives exist! Transitioning to vegan foods involves both a cultural shift and a shift in personal habits – both of which are easier than we might think. When I look back at how I craved tuna fish sandwiches, it all seems very foreign to me. It simply no longer appeals to me. Time heals, and it certainly does when it comes to food cravings.

If you’re looking for a delicious vegan mock tuna salad recipe. we have three of the best in our post:

Be well and enjoy!

By Kristen M. Stanton

24 Vegan Sneakers and Skate Shoes Brands

Vegan Sneakers and Vegan Skate Shoes

Whether you’re meeting friends for a game of disc golf, walking the dog, or speeding down a hill on your new board, a sweet pair of vegan sneakers or vegan skate shoes is a wardrobe necessity. Where before options were limited to canvas sneakers or leather styles, now virtually every brand offers sneakers and skate shoes in a variety of vegan-friendly materials. And of course, canvas sneakers will never go out of style.

Plus, there are some new brands on the scene that incorporate eco-friendly materials that are definitely worth checking out. Here are the top brands I found that make vegan sneakers and skate shoes.

1. Astral

Astral is one of my favorite newer brands because not only are they a 100% vegan footwear brand, they create their athletic shoes, boots, and gear in the least toxic way possible. One thing they’ve done is eliminate PVC foam from their supply chain. In addition, they use recycled materials, including recycled polyester in their designs.

You can see more styles from Astral in my posts on vegan hiking boots and hemp shoes.

Astral Women’s Vegan Sneakers

Astral Women’s Vegan SneakersPrice: ~$63.71 – $388.50

Buy Now on Amazon

Astral Men’s Vegan Sneakers

Astral Men’s Vegan SneakersPrice: ~$84.95 – $101.28

Buy Now on Amazon

 

2. Etnies

Etnies Men’s Vegan Skate Shoes

Famous as a skate shoe brand, Etnies offers a variety of styles in vegan-friendly materials. In fact, they make it easy to find the vegan sneakers and skates shoes on their site as they have them grouped in a collection.

Etnies shoes are eco-friendly too. They use recycled rubber in their outsoles, recycled plastic canvas in their uppers, and their padded insoles are also made with recycled materials.

Etnies Women’s Vegan Sneakers and Skate Shoes

Etnies Women’s Vegan Sneakers and Skate ShoesPrice: ~$39.99 – $67.99

Buy Now on Etnies

Etnies is also available on Amazon.

Etnies Men’s Vegan Sneakers and Skate Shoes

Etnies Men’s Vegan Sneakers and Skate ShoesPrice: ~$39.99 – $119.99

Buy Now on Etnies

Buy on Amazon.

 

3. Reebok

Eco-Friendly, Plantbased, and Sustainable Sneakers by ReebokThis year, Reebok came out with truly eco-friendly vegan sneaker. The uppers of these natural shoes are made with 100% cotton and the soles are made with DuPont’s Susterra® propanediol – an eco-friendly, sustainable, and corn-based chemical compound that can be used in polyurethanes and polyester resins, which are traditionally made totally with petrochemicals.

Sustainable and Vegan Sneakers

Eco-Friendly, Sustainable Vegan Sneakers by ReebokPrice: ~$39.99

Buy Now on Amazon

 

4. Emerica

Like Etnies, Emerica gets two thumbs up for offering an entire collection of sneakers and skate shoes that are vegan.

Canvas Skate Shoes

Emerica Vegan Skate ShoesPrice: ~$29.99 – $69.99

 

5. Vivobarefoot

The barefoot-feeling shoe company, Vivobarefoot offers a variety of vegan styles of sneakers. In addition, they make some great, lightweight hiking boots, which you can see in my post on vegan hiking boots and shoes.

Women’s Vivobarefoot Sneakers

Women’s Vivobarefoot Vegan Sneakers and Vegan Skate ShoesPrice: ~$75.00- $170.00

Men’s Vivobarefoot Sneakers

Men’s Vivobarefoot Vegan Sneakers and Vegan Skate ShoesPrice: ~$75.00- $170.00

 

6. Rothy’s

Rothy’s became famous for their pointy-toed flats worn by the likes of Meghan Markle (now Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex.) And recently they’ve come out with a collection of cute vegan sneakers and loafers. In addition to being a completely vegan footwear line, Rothy’s makes their shoes from recycled plastic bottles. To date, they’ve already repurposed over 20 million plastic water bottles and turned them into super cute vegan sneakers and shoes.

Women’s Eco-Friendly, Vegan Sneakers

Rothy's Women’s Eco-Friendly, Vegan SneakersPrice: ~$125.00

Buy on Rothy's

 

7. MATT & NAT

Started as a luxury vegan handbag and accessories brand, MATT & NAT now offers a selection of stylish vegan leather sneakers. If you like the look of a leather sneaker, but want to avoid animal skin, you’ll definitely want to take a look at their super stylish sneakers.

MATT & NAT Women’s Vegan Leather Sneakers

MATT & NAT Women’s Faux Leather Vegan SneakersPrice: ~$54.00 – $110.00

Buy Now on Matt & Nat

MATT & NAT Women’s Faux Leather Sneakers

MATT & NAT Women’s Faux Leather Vegan SneakersPrice: ~$54.00 – $110.00

Buy Now on Matt & Nat

 

8. Native Shoes

Native Shoes have a look all their own, and their vegan skate shoes and sneakers are no exception. A 100% vegan footwear company, Native also tries to maintain a light environmental footprint when producing their colorful shoes. They use a low-emission manufacturing process, and their shoes are made with a foam-injection molding process, which helps to minimizes waste.

Native Women’s Vegan Sneakers

Native Women’s Vegan SneakersPrice: ~$32.59 – $56.23

Buy Now on Amazon

Native Men’s Vegan Sneakers

Native Men’s Vegan SneakersPrice: ~$32.59 – $56.23

Buy Now on Amazon

 

9. People Footwear

People Footwear is a newer brand on the scene that offers fun and colorful cruelty-free shoes for women, men, and kids. The company describes their shoes as “high-performance leisure,” making them perfect for people who like to have fun and are constantly on the go.

People Women’s Vegan Sneakers

People Women’s Vegan Sneakers and Vegan Skate ShoesPrice: ~$29.99 – $97.90

Buy Now on Amazon

People Men’s Vegan Sneakers

People Men’s Vegan Sneakers and Skate ShoesPrice: ~$29.99 – $97.90

Buy Now on Amazon

 

10. Unstitched Utilities

Another 100% vegan footwear brand, Unstitched Utilities uses vegan dyes and glues in their footwear, plus they incorporate eco-friendly materials into their designs. For example, they use materials like Tyvek®, a high-density polyethylene fiber that’s water resistant, durable, and breathable. It’s also vegan and can be recycled.

You can see more of their designs in my post about the best vegan shoe brands.

Women’s Vegan Sneakers

Women’s Vegan Sneakers

Price: ~$29.99 – $39.99

Buy Now on Amazon

Men’s Vegan Sneakers

Men’s Vegan SneakersPrice: ~$29.99 – $39.99

Buy Now on Amazon

 

11. Stella McCartney

What I love about Stella McCartney is that she is one of the all-too-rare designers who is bringing vegan and eco-friendly design to the world of high fashion, which has a terrible history of animal exploitation and waste. (And in too many ways, the industry is still toiling away in the Dark Ages when it comes to those issues.) Stella is helping to bring it into the light.

She offers a variety of high-style vegan sneakers and athletics shoes. (And her vegan handbags are pretty sweet too!)

Stella McCartney Vegan Sneakers and Athletic Shoes

Stella McCartney Vegan Sneakers and Athletic ShoesPrice: ~$44.95 – $764.00

Buy Now on Amazon

 

12. Hugo Boss

Piñatex Vegan Trainers

Hugo Boss Piñatex Vegan TrainersWhen Hugo Boss introduced their line of vegan trainers made with sustainable Piñatex® pineapple leather in a limited supply, all I could hope is that sales would be lucrative enough that they’d make many more.

The company recently reinforced their commitment to have a more Earth-friendly production process, and along those lines, they ship their eco-friendly vegan pineapple leather sneakers in a biodegradable box.

You can see other shoes and accessories made with Piñatex in my post on that topic.

Hugo Boss Piñatex Vegan SneakersPrice: ~$348.00

 

13. Vans

Vans is another major brand that’s working to improve its environmental footprint. They share on their website their products account for 90% of their total environmental impact. Because the cotton in their canvas sneakers and skate shoes has a relatively high carbon footprint, they joined the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), a trade organization that works to reduce the environmental impact of cotton production and improve livelihoods and economic development in cotton producing locations. Vans has committed to source 100% sustainable cotton by 2025.

Through their parent company, VF Corporation, Vans is also a member of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, which include 100 leading apparel and footwear brands, retailers, suppliers, nonprofits, and NGOs that are collaborating to reduce the environmental and social impacts of the apparel and footwear industries.

You can see Vans made from hemp in my post on hemp shoes and sandals.

Women’s Vans Vegan Skate Shoes and Sneakers

Women’s Vans Vegan Skate Shoes and SneakersPrice: ~$23.88 – $154.95

Buy Now on Amazon

 

Men’s Vans Vegan Skate Shoes and Sneakers

Men’s Vans Vegan Skate Shoes and SneakersPrice: ~$24.64 – $199.00

Buy Now on Amazon

 

14. Saolo

Saolo is another vegan footwear brand I discovered that makes great vegan skate shoes and sneakers. They also use eco-friendly materials in their designs, including recycled materials and organic cotton. And on the inside, the shoes are cushioned with sustainable cork insoles. Every pair of Saolo sneakers keeps 3-4 plastic bottles out of the landfill and ocean.

You can see more of their styles in my post about recycled shoes.

Saolo Women’s Vegan Sneakers and Skate Shoes

Saolo Women’s Vegan Sneakers and Skate ShoesPrice: ~$69.99-$99.95

Buy Now on Amazon

Saolo Men’s Vegan Sneakers and Skate Shoes

Saolo Men’s Vegan Sneakers and Skate ShoesPrice: ~$69.99-$99.95

Buy Now on Amazon

 

15. Siam Tip

Siam Tip is an artisanal footwear maker that’s based in Thailand. All of their shoes are 100% vegan, and their colorful sneakers will have people asking you where you got your cute shoes. You can see more styles by Siam Tip in my posts about vegan clogs and women’s vegan boots.

Boho Chic Vegan Sneakers

Boho Chic Vegan SneakersPrice: ~$59.00-$75.00

Buy on Etsy

 

16. Blowfish

If you’re looking for cute, affordable vegan sneakers, check out Blowfish. They make a variety of styles for women and girls in vegan-friendly materials, such as canvas and faux leather.

Blowfish Canvas Sneakers

Blowfish Canvas SneakersPrice: ~$21.30 – $45.00

Buy Now on Amazon

 

17. Superga

Superga started as a rubber company in Italy in the early 1900s, and a couple decades later, they were making rubber soles for shoes. Fast forward to the 1970s and the company was producing high-quality athletic shoes. Their vegan skate shoes and sneakers are a great mix of vintage-look plus modern-day hip style.

Women’s Vegan Skate Shoes and Sneakers

Women’s Vegan Skate Shoes and SneakersPrice: $27.99 – $90.65

Buy Now on Amazon

Men’s Vegan Skate Shoes and Sneakers

Men’s Vegan Skate Shoes and SneakersPrice: $27.99 – $90.65

Buy Now on Amazon

 

18. Sanuk

Sanuk Vegan Skate Shoes and Sneakers

Sanuk is a popular brand with the surfing crowd, so it makes sense that they infuse environmental stewardship into their popular skate shoes and sneakers. Their corporate headquarters and distribution centers are in LEED certified buildings, where they utilize solar power for electricity generation and deploy water and energy efficiency processes.

You can see more Sanuks in my posts on eco-friendly flip flops and hemp shoes and sandals.

Sanuk Women’s Vegan Skate Shoes and Sneakers

Sanuk Women’s Vegan Skate Shoes and SneakersPrice: $30.00 – $65.00

Also available on Amazon

Sanuk Men’s Vegan Skate Shoes and Sneakers

Sanuk Men’s Vegan Skate Shoes and Sneakers

Price: $30.00 – $65.00

Buy on Amazon

 

19. TOMS

To date, socially-conscious footwear maker TOMS has donated over 60 million pairs of shoes to children in need in 70 countries around the world. In addition, they help to provide clean drinking water in places where people don’t have access, and they’ve helped to restore eyesight to people in need.

In recent years, the company has expanded their vegan line of sneakers and shoes even further, making TOMS the ultimate feel good shoes.

TOMS Women’s Vegan Collection

TOMS Women’s Vegan CollectionPrice: $39.95 – $64.95

TOMS Men’s Vegan Collection

TOMS Men’s Vegan CollectionPrice: $39.99 – $59.99

 

20. Xero

Xero Vegan Sneakers and Skate Shoes

Husband-and-wife team Steven Sashen and Lena Phoenix started Xero Shoes with the goal of fostering more natural movement for people while they’re being active in the great outdoors. Figures it would take an active couple to invent such shoes. Lena is an avid hiker and Steven is a Masters All-American sprinter and one of the fastest men over the age of 50 in the U.S.

Xero’s vegan sneakers have a comfortable natural fit for your feet, with a wide toe box and uber-flexible soles.

You can see more Xero Shoes in my posts on vegan sport sandals and vegan hiking boots.

Xero Women’s Vegan Sneakers

Xero Women’s Vegan SneakersPrice: $64.99 – $144.99

Buy Now on Amazon

Xero Men’s Vegan Shoes

Xero Men’s Vegan ShoesPrice: $64.99 – $144.99

Buy Now on Amazon

 

21. Merrell

Kudos to Merrell for offering an entire collection of vegan sneakers (which is not something that all big brands do.) Their vegan sneakers are comfortable and great for hikes, long walks, or just strolling around town.

Merrell Women’s Vegan Sneakers

Merrell Women’s Vegan SneakersPrice: ~$59.99 – $90.00

Merrell Men’s Vegan Sneakers

Merrell Men’s Vegan SneakersPrice: ~$59.99 – $90.00

Buy Now on Merrell

 

22. Onitsuka Tiger

Onitsuka Tiger makes vegan sneakers that have a cool 70s vintage look. They remind me a bit of the original Nike track shoes. But this doesn’t mean they’re a new brand. The company was started in 1949 when Kihachiro Onitsuka created his first pair of athletic shoes in his living room in Kobe, Japan. The word “Tiger” got incorporated into the name because of the iconic tiger stripe design on the shoes.Onitsuka Tiger Sneakers Price: ~$34.94 – $92.38

Buy Now on Amazon

 

23. adidas

As the world’s largest sportswear maker, adidas has a big impact on the world of retail, and not to mention, animals and the environment. I was happy to see that they’ve committed to use only recycled plastics in their shoes and sportwear by 2024. In addition, they plan to sell 11 million pairs of their Parley recycled ocean plastic shoes this year.

adidas does still use a lot of leather and suede in their designs, so, you have to sift through the products a bit and read the details to find the styles that are made with canvas and synthetics. It’s great to see their expanding selection of canvas sneakers and skate shoes. They also make some great vegan hiking boots and trail running shoes.

adidas Women’s Canvas Skate Shoes and Sneakers

adidas Women’s Canvas Skate Shoes and SneakersPrice: ~$44.84 – $130.84

Buy Now on Amazon

adidas Men’s Canvas Skate Shoes and Sneakers

adidas Men’s Canvas Skate Shoes and SneakersPrice: ~$47.93 – $140.24

Buy Now on Amazon

 

24. Nike

Like adidas, Nike now offers a wider selection of non-leather sneakers and skate shoes than they ever have before. (But be sure to double check the product details before you buy to make sure you’re getting the canvas and synthetic styles.)

Nike Women’s Canvas Skate Shoes

Nike Women’s Canvas Skate ShoesPrice: ~ $41.93 – $161.00

Buy Now on Amazon

Nike Men’s Canvas Skate Shoes

Nike Men’s Canvas Skate ShoesPrice: ~$57.94 – $161.00

Buy Now on Amazon

Keep moving forward!

23 Best BPA Free Water Bottles: Glass, Stainless Steel & Eco-Friendly

Eco-Friendly, Reusable Water Bottles: Non-Toxic, BPA-Free

It’s high time that we ban disposable plastic water bottles except in the case of emergencies. They’re a scourge on our planet and they’re not good for your health either. I understand that I may be preaching to the choir here, dear reader, but just in case you want to read about how heinous disposable plastic water bottles are for your health and for our planet’s, you can click here to jump to the bottom of this post and get more info. But if you’re here to check out the very best BPA-free water bottles that are healthy for you and eco-friendly to the planet  first, here they are.

All of the reusable water bottles presented in this post are either glass or stainless steel, which means they’re non-toxic and BPA-free. They’re also free of the BPA alternatives bisphenol S and F, otherwise known as BPS and BPF.  Some studies have found those chemicals to be just as harmful as BPA. In this post, the glass water bottles are listed first, followed by stainless steel water bottles below.

Here’s a quick video on why we need to ditch the disposable plastic water bottles:

 

Reusable Glass Water Bottles

Overall, glass water bottles seem to be the safest bet for your health and the environment. Glass is inert, meaning it doesn’t leach into the food or beverage it contains, and it’s non-toxic. Glass is also easily recycled. The only two downsides to glass are that it breaks and it can be heavy.

Fortunately, there are a number glass drinking bottles available today that come in protective silicone covers to prevent them from breaking. Silicone is non-toxic, and it’s not considered a hazardous waste. However, it doesn’t decompose, so it needs to be recycled. Usually you have to recycle it in a specialty recycling center.

1. Eco-Friendly Glass Water Bottle by Kanrel

Eco-Friendly Glass Water Bottle by KanrelThis reusable glass bottle by Kanrel is dishwasher-safe and made with strong, non-toxic glass. Each Kanrel bottle is hand-crafted and has a protective silicone cover. This bottle is a great way to keep yourself hydrated, while reducing the amount of plastic in our environment.

What customers say:
Customers say the bottle is leak-proof, so you don’t have to worry about carrying it in your bag with other things.

About the brand:
Based in Ireland, Kanrel is focused on reducing the amount plastic waste in our environment. They also put a special emphasis on improving the quality of drinking water, which has led them to create a range of BPA-free glass bottles for a variety of uses. Kanrel is a member of 1% for the Planet, so they donate 1% of sales to environmental causes.

Price: ~ $36.56 – $55.52

Buy Now on Amazon

 

2. BPA-Free Glass Water Bottle with Silicone Sleeve by purifyou

BPA-Free Glass Water Bottle with Silicone Sleeve by purifyouThis water bottle by purifyou comes in 12, 22, and 32 oz. sizes. It’s made with high borosilicate BPA-free glass, which makes it more heat-resistant than other types of glass. This makes it great for transporting coffee, tea, or soup. The protective silicone sleeve provides extra protection from drops and knocks.

What customers say:
Customers who’ve used other reusable bottles say they like purifyou the best because the glass is extra thick, yet still lightweight. Others report that it’s leak-proof and easy to carry with the ring on its lid.

About the brand:
purifyou is a family-owned business that’s focused on creating healthy, eco-conscious products. They donate a portion of their profits to build wells in under-developed parts of the world to give others access to safe drinking water.

Price: ~ $14.97 – $89.99

Buy Now on Amazon

 

3. Silicone Sleeve Glass Water Bottle by Lifefactory

Glass Water Bottle with Silicone Sleeve by Lifefactory

This 22 oz. glass water bottle by Lifefactory is easy to hold and 100% BPA-free. It has a flip cap that makes it easy to pop open and drink, and the wider neck makes it easy to add ice or fruit. This bottle comes with a silicone cover to protect the glass. The bottle is easy to clean by hand as well as being dishwasher-safe. Plus, it has a convenient handle that makes it easy carry when you’re on the go.

What customers say:
One customer mentioned that other glass bottles they’ve used felt fragile, whereas this bottle felt much more sturdy. Another said she trusts these bottles with her kids, and that they make beverages taste better than drinking from plastic.

About the brand:
Lifefactory produces a range of glass containers, bottles, and glasses. They focus on using safe materials to produce healthy, smart alternatives to everyday plastic items

Price: ~ $14.99

Buy Now on Amazon

 

4. Reusable Glass Water Bottle with Petal Sleeve by Contigo

Reusable Glass Water Bottle with Petal Sleeve by ContigoThis BPA-free glass drinking bottle by Contigo is durable and non-toxic. It comes with a silicone cover and measures 2.8” x 2.8” x 9.8” inches, making it easy to carry.

What customers say:
This bottle feels very sturdy as it survived surprising impacts on surfaces like granite and cement without breaking. Plus, the rubber strap makes it easy to carry and it keeps the cap close to hand when drinking on the move.

About the brand:
Contigo is an eco-conscious company that’s focused on eliminating the need for single-use plastics. Their innovative designs mean their customers get high-quality products geared for the modern world. Contigo offers a range of reusable water bottles, travel mugs, and thermoses.

Price: ~ $11.42

Buy Now on Amazon

 

5. Reusable Glass Water Bottles by Estilo

Reusable Glass Water Bottle by EstiloThese reusable glass water bottles by Estilo come in a pack of four, and they’re made with sturdy, BPA-free glass. The lids are made from high-quality, food-grade stainless steel. Plus, they have a convenient carry strap, so you can take your bottle with you on the go. This reusable water bottle is also dishwasher-safe.

What customers say:
Reviewers on Amazon like the value of these bottles for the price, and said they’re super durable – not breaking when dropped repeatedly.

About the brand:
Estilo produces other glass containers, including swing-top bottles, two-gallon drink dispenser jugs, and more.

Price: ~ $16.99

Buy Now on Amazon

 

6. Glass Water Bottles by Brieftons

Glass Water Bottle Set by BrieftonsThis six-pack of glass drinking bottles by Brieftons provides an ideal way to store liquids without using plastic. Their simple design makes them easy to clean and they’re also dishwasher-safe.

These bottles are made from a highly durable soda lime glass, which can handle hot liquids and is resistant to small impacts. And, as an added bonus, they come with a bottle cleaning brush.

What customers say:
Customers appreciate the solid, leak-free seal in the cap to prevent leaks and spills when carrying these bottles in your bag or car. Another customer vouched for the fact that you can pour hot tea into these bottles for drinking on the go.

About the brand:
Brieftons aims to offer healthy products to customers at affordable prices. In addition to glass drinking bottles, they produce a range of kitchen appliances.

Price: ~ $19.99

Buy Now on Amazon

 

7. 32 Oz. Glass Water Bottle by Xtremeglas

Glass Water Bottle by Xtremeglas

This large reusable bottle by Xtremeglas has helpful time markers on the side to remind you to stay hydrated throughout the day. The durable glass and protective silicone sleeve will let you get long-term use from this bottle. It also has a stainless steel lid.

What customers say:
One customer bought this as a gift for a co-worker, which inspired more of their colleagues to get one.

About the brand:
Xtremeglas is a veteran-owned business based in Indiana. They make a range of well-crafted glass water bottles and bottle accessories.

Price: ~ $24.99

Buy Now on Amazon

 

8. 18 Oz. Glass Water Bottles by Vremi

18 Oz. Glass Water Bottles by VremiThis reusable water bottle by Vremi comes in a six-pack. The slim design means they’re lightweight and easy to carry, and they’ll fit easily into your car’s cup holder.

The glass is durable, and can be used to store a wide range of cold drinks and liquids, including juice, tea, water, and more.

What customers say:
For one customer, this purchase completely solved their issue with constantly buying plastic water bottles. Customers say that having more than one bottle makes not using plastic easier. Another customer said the bottles are well-sealed, so they don’t worry about leaks or spills.

About the brand:
Vremi was started in their founder’s kitchen and has evolved to be a producer of a range of home products, including high-quality glass drinking bottles.

Price: ~ $18.49

Buy Now on Amazon

 

9. Custom Etched Glass Water Bottle by Crystal Dae Dreams

Custom Etched Glass Water Bottle by Crystal Dae DreamsThese special etched glass water bottles are created by Amy Hjelt of Crystal Dae Dreams in her studio in Bellingham, Washington. Amy re-purposes unused bottles and engraves them with elegant botanical motifs. They come with a fully-sealed lid in black, silver, or white. Plus, Amy takes custom orders.

What customers say:
Customers say these bottles are exquisite and make wonderful gifts!

About the brand:
Crystal Dae Dreams is a small business owned and run by artist Amy Hjelt. She takes inspiration from nature, and uses her imagination to create stunning engraved glass bottles, which make ideal gifts and help you stay hydrated with style. She offers custom engraving too. Simply contact her via her Etsy store.

Price: ~ $14.98

Buy on Etsy

 

Stainless Steel Reusable Water Bottles

The other best option I found for safe, reusable water bottles that are also eco-friendly are those made with stainless steel. Stainless steel is considered safe for water bottles, as well as other containers like cooking pots, because it’s one of the most inert metals, therefore it leaches a very minimal amount of metal. It should be noted that it has been known to leach nickel, chromium, and iron into the liquid or food it contains.

Depending on how strict you are about avoiding metals in your food and beverages, stainless steel is second only to glass. In my research, I didn’t find anywhere near the controversy of using stainless steel food containers that I did with plastic and even aluminum. (You can read more about aluminum below.) In addition, stainless steel is eco-friendly because it can be recycled.

10. Wide-Mouth Stainless Steel Water Bottle by Hydro Flask

 

Wide-Mouth Stainless Steel Water Bottle by Hydro Flask

This bottle by eco-conscious company Hydro Flask has a wide mouth for adding ice, and it comes in a few different sizes. The powder coating provides an easy-to-carry, scratch-proof protective barrier.  The 40 oz. sizes large enough to share with a pal or your dog on a long hike.

What customers say:
Customers love that this bottle is 100% BPA-free. They also love that it doesn’t leak or even cause condensation, so other things won’t get damp if you carry it in a bag.

About the brand:
Based in Bend, Oregon, Hydro Flask is a big advocate for getting people into the great outdoors. Through the “Parks for All” initiative, they’ve provided multiple grants to support programs such as the National Parks Foundation’s Open Outdoors for Kids, The Trust for Public Land’s Woonasquatucket River Adventure Park, and the City Parks Foundation’s Partnerships for Parks.

Price: ~ $29.95 – $59.95

Buy Now on Amazon

 

11. Classic Stainless Steel Bottle by Klean Kanteen

Classic Stainless Steel Bottle by Klean KanteenThe iconic design of this bottle hasn’t changed in ten years, and with good reason. Klean Kanteen goes beyond the usual standard for hygiene and safety, using their own innovative chemical safety assessment on all of their bottles to ensure that no chemicals leach into the liquids they carry. In addition, this bottle is coated in a special chip-resistant finish, so it will still look great in years to come.

What customers say:
Klean Kanteen fans say their drinking bottles have amazing durability, remaining scratch-free for a long time. Plus, they’re easy to clean. They also like that the lids can be switched out for different styles and replaced without having to get a whole new bottle.

About the brand:
Klean Kanteen is a family-owned business that’s intent on reducing the impact of single-use plastics on our environment by offering high-quality, eco-friendly alternatives. They’re a member of 1% for the Planet, and they partner with other non-profits, including 5 Gyres, Breast Cancer Prevention Partners, and American Rivers.

Here’s a video from Klean Kanteen:

Price: ~ $16.95

Buy Now on Amazon

 

12. Wide-Mouth Insulated Water Bottle by Klean Kanteen

Wide Insulated Water Bottle by Klean KanteenThis 20 oz. wide mouth insulated bottle by Klean Kanteen is made with high-grade stainless steel and is vacuum insulated with a durable, double-wall construction. It has a loop handle on the lid for easy carrying. It comes in different colors, including brushed stainless steel, lavender, blue, red, black, and green.

What customers say:
This bottle gets hundreds of 5-star reviews on Amazon, and customers say it keeps drinks hot all day. Customers also say the quality is top notch.

Price: ~ $25.95

Buy Now on Amazon

 

13. Socially Conscious Insulated Water Bottle by S’well

Socially Conscious Insulated Water Bottle by S'wellThis stylish drinking bottle by S’well is vacuum insulated, non-toxic, and BPA-free. It will keep your drinks chilled for up to 12 hours. The sleek design comes in a variety of fun colors and patterns, including wood-style, marble, white, black, and more.

What customers say:
Customers like the slim design of this bottle, which make it easy to hold and carry. Others say it helps to remind them to stay hydrated.

About the brand:
S’well was started in 2010 by Sarah Kauss. Her mission: to rid the world of plastic bottles. A socially-conscious company, S’well is a UNICEF USA partner and has committed $800,000 to help provide clean and safe water to the world’s most vulnerable communities. In addition, S’well supports water programs in Madagascar, where nearly 50% of the population lacks access to clean drinking water.

Here’s founder Sarah Kauss talking about S’well:

Price: ~ $15.24 – $33.25

Buy Now on Amazon

 

14. Eco-Friendly Stainless Steel Water Bottle by Tree Tribe

Eco Stainless Steel Water Bottle by Tree TribeThis stainless steel drinking bottle by Tree Tribe is designed to provide you with a lifetime of use. (It comes with a lifetime guarantee.) It’s leak-proof, BPA-free, and designed from tough, food-grade stainless steel. Plus, it has a cool, sustainable bamboo cap.

What customers say:
Customer like that this bottle is 100% plastic-free. They also say the bottle never leaks and is practically dent-proof.

About the brand:
Tree Tribe is committed to reducing the amount of harmful plastic in our environment by creating tough, hygienic, and eco-friendly bottles so you never have to buy plastic again. An eco-conscious outdoor lifestyle brand, the company plants 10 trees for every product they sell. I also featured them in my post about wood and bamboo framed sunglasses.

Here’s a little more info on Tree Tribe:

Price: ~ $27.24

Buy Now on Amazon

 

15. BPA-Free Stainless Steel Water Bottles by Healthy Human

BPA-Free Stainless Steel Water Bottles by Healthy Human

Here’s another cool drinking bottle that can ensure your beverages never touch plastic again. It’s also made with stainless steel and has a steel-lined lid. This bottle will keep your cold drinks chilled for up to 24 hours, and your hot drinks hot for an impressive 12 hours. These bottles come in an extensive range of colors and finishes.

What customers say:
Customers say these bottles are tough yet comfortable to carry around with their wide three-finger handle at the top.

About the brand:
Healthy Human produces a range of stainless steel water bottles and tumblers. They aim to help people live healthier, happier lives. They’re also against plastic straws and make reusable stainless steel straws.

Price: ~ $14.99 – $36.99

Buy Now on Amazon

 

16. Brushed Stainless Steel Water Bottle by Futurepace Tech

Brushed Stainless Steel Water Bottle by Futurepace TechThis stainless steel bottle is vacuum insulated and will keep your chilled drinks cold and your hot drinks warm for hours after filling. In addition, its food-grade stainless steel interior means that no taste or odors from your previous drinks get transferred.

What customers say:
Customers attest that this bottle will keep cold drinks well-chilled, even if left in direct sunlight inside a hot car. Other customers say they like the leak-free seal that works even when the bottle is laid on its side.

About the brand:
Futurepace Tech says they create simple, elegant solutions to cut down on plastic waste. And, they encourage people to get outdoors and enjoy life.

Price: ~ $14.50

Buy Now on Amazon

 

17. Custom Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle by KTBG Creations

Custom Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle

If a personalized water bottle is what you’re after, check out these styles by KTBH Creations. They’ll customize your stainless steel water bottle with a unique monogram of your choosing. Their bottles are 17 oz., so they’re the perfect size to take to work, the gym, or in the car. Plus, they have double-walled insulation to keep your cold drinks cold for up to 24 hours, or hot drinks warm for up to 12 hours.

About the brand:
KTBG Creations offer a range of customizable items, including bottles, earrings, cups, shirts, and necklaces. They make great gifts for family and friends.

Price: ~ $13.00

Buy on Etsy

 

18. Insulated Water Bottle by HvDrink

Colorful Reusable Stainless Steel Water BottlesThe wide-mouth bottle is non-toxic, BPA-free, and easy to clean. It’s vacuum insulated, so it’s great for carrying either hot or cold beverages. It comes in a range of fun, bright colors, including purple, hot pink, black, red, turquoise, yellow, green, navy, and silver.

What customers say:
Customers love the solid,  non-slip bottom, which prevents the bottle from being knocked over easily. Others commented that is keeps ice frozen for up to 24 hours.

About the brand:
HvDrink makes a range of insulated drink bottles and flasks that are perfect for keeping your cold drinks cold and your hot drinks hot for long periods of time. All of their bottles use innovative vacuum insulation, and they come in a variety of fun colors.

Price: ~ $17.99 – $28.99

Buy Now on Amazon

 

19. Reusable Stainless Steel Water Bottle by Contigo

Reusable Stainless Steel Water Bottle In addition to their eco-friendly glass drinking bottles noted above, Contigo makes these vacuum insulated stainless steel bottles. Featuring a hygienic spout system, they’ll keep your drink sealed from contaminants when not in use. Plus, they have the added benefit of being leak-free. This bottle also has a handy button-open feature, so you can pick up and drink one-handed. And, it comes with a lifetime guarantee.

What customers say:
These bottles easily fit in the drink holder in your car or on your bike, and they’re comfortable to hold in your hand.

About the brand:
Contigo creates high-quality products, including stainless steel and glass water bottles and travel mugs.

Price: ~ $14.88 – $19.96

Buy Now on Amazon

 

20. Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle by MIRA
Vacuum-Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle

This double-walled bottle is vacuum insulated, so it will keep liquids hot or cold all day long. It comes in a variety of colors with different styles of lids. Plus, it’s got a powdered coating that provides a slip-free way to grip the bottle, even if you’re wearing gloves.

What customers say:
This bottle managed to keep one customer’s ice frozen for six hours, even under the hot Jamaican sun. Others remarked that it’s super versatile and definitely worth the price.

About the brand:
MIRA creates high-quality drink containers and food storage cases. All of their products are BPA-free and made from recyclable stainless steel. MIRA supports the Community Water Center, an organization that provides access to clean, safe, and affordable drinking water to Californians.

Price: ~ $14.95 – $19.95

Buy Now on Amazon

 

21. Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle by Glacier Point Bottle

Insulated Stainless Steel Water BottleThese vacuum insulated bottles by Glacier Point Bottle are designed to last a lifetime, and they come with a lifetime guarantee to underscore this point. The powder coating makes them highly resistant to scrapes and bumps and easy to carry whether you’re sweating in the summer sun or have gloves on in winter. These bottles also come with a bonus sport cap.

What customers say:
Customers say these bottles keep drinks cold, even in the scorching Arizona sun. They’re also relatively lightweight.

About the brand:
Glacier Point Bottle designs smart alternatives to plastic bottles that come with a lifetime guarantee.

Price: ~ $15.99 – $19.99

Buy Now on Amazon

 

22. 32 Oz. Stainless Steel Water Bottle by Takeya Originals
32 Oz. Stainless Steel Water Bottle

This 32 oz. insulated bottle by Takeya is your ticket to staying hydrated. The high-quality stainless steel interior means no odors or flavors get transferred from beverage to beverage. Using vacuum insulation, cold drinks stored inside will stay chilled for up to 24 hours.

What customers say:
Customers like the spout lid that’s combined with a wide opening, making it easy to add ice when desired. They also say it’s lightweight, sturdy, and well-insulated.

About the brand:
Takeya is an active fitness brand that’s based in Huntington Beach, California. They produce a variety of BPA-free, insulated bottles to help people avoid plastic while still staying hydrated.

Price: ~ $19.13 – $29.99

Buy Now on Amazon

 

23. Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle by Iron Flask

Vacuum-Insulated Stainless Steel Water BottleThis cool reusable bottle comes with three different lids, so you can customize your liquid flow depending on your activity. Using double-walled vacuum insulation, this bottle will keep your drinks hot for up to 12 hours or chilled perfectly for up to 24 hours, no matter the temperature outside.

The strong stainless steel design means this bottle is built to last. In addition, your beverages will never touch plastic because the lid is also made with high-grade stainless steel

What customers say:
Customers love that this bottle comes default with three lids. They also say it’s well worth the price.

About the brand:
The Iron Flask creates the perfect solution for carrying hot or cold liquids. It works as a water bottle, coffee thermos, or as a canteen for soup, baby food, and other hot or cold drinks.

Price: ~ $23.95 – $36.95

Buy Now on Amazon

 

Why You Should Only Drink from a Glass or Stainless Steel Water Bottle

Still not convinced you need to get a stainless steel or glass drinking bottle? Here are a few more compelling reasons for you!

Plastic Water Bottle Pollution

1. Plastic water bottles could be harmful to your health.

Plastic water bottles contain BPA and phthalates, two industrial chemicals that can interfere with the body’s hormones, including testosterone and estrogen, and which have been linked to brain problems, such as depression, as well as cancer, diabetes, and obesity. (Wikipedia)

Yeah, you heard that last one right. Plastic might be making you fat.

Plastic Water Bottles Can Make You Fat

Belly Fat

If the cancer, hormone disruptions, and brain problems aren’t enough to freak you out, both BPA and phthalates are known “obesogens” – toxins that disrupt the function of your hormones, as well as your healthy intestinal bacteria, causing imbalances that lead to distorted hunger cravings, a slower metabolism, and an increase in fat cells and fat storage – all of which can lead to weight gain. In addition, obesogens have been shown to increase your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and high cholesterol. (Prevention)

  • Long term exposure to even low doses of BPA cause a rise of insulin production. Too much insulin is a risk factor for obesity.
  • In a study published in the journal Nature, Harvard and Brown University epidemiologists compared levels of BPA in the urine of almost 1,000 U.S. women who reported gaining weight over a 10-year period. The women with the highest levels of BPA reported gaining about half a pound more per year than the women with the lowest levels. Other studies show that BPA may accelerate fat-cell differentiation, disrupt pancreatic functioning, and cause insulin resistance, all of which can lead to obesity.

Although there are regulatory standards limiting phthalates in tap water, there are no legal limits for phthalates in bottled water – the bottled water industry waged a successful campaign opposing the FDA proposal to set a legal limit for these chemicals. (NRDC)

BPA, Other Endocrine Disruptors, and Babies

Baby Drinking from Plastic Bottle

BPA is especially harmful to babies. Just as you wouldn’t expose fetuses or babies to alcohol because their livers are not yet fully developed enough to filter out the toxin, you shouldn’t expose babies to BPA for the same reason.

  • A young, developing child without a fully matured means to deactivate BPA could be carrying concentrations of the compound that are more than 10-fold higher than the levels in adults. The results suggest that children are very likely to be the most severely affected by exposure to BPA and related endocrine disruptors. (Environmental Health News.org)

Plastics Are Polluting Your Body Like They’re Polluting the Planet

Unfortunately, 90% of Americans already have BPA in their bodies. This is an added reason not to continue overloading your system with it.

“BPA-free” and “phthalate-free” plastics are not better.

According to a study in the National Institutes of Health journal Environmental pHealth Perspectives, coauthored by University of Texas-Austin Professor of Neurobiology George Bittner, “almost all commercially available plastics they analyzed leached synthetic estrogens.” This was even when they were not exposed to microwave or dishwasher heat or the sun’s ultraviolet rays. (Mother Jones)

  • 81% of Americans have detectable levels of BPS, a “BPA-free” alternative, in their urine. And once BPS enters the body it can affect cells in ways that parallel BPA.

 

2. Plastic water bottles are contributing to one of the largest environmental catastrophes of our day.

Have you heard of the Pacific Garbage Patch? It is a gyre (or vortex, or whirlpool) of garbage with exceptionally high relative concentrations of plastic, chemical sludge, and other manmade debris that have been trapped by the currents of the North Pacific Gyre. (Wikipedia)

This video from that National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) explains it well:

The Pacific Garbage Patch is twice the size of the state of TEXAS.

Now, we challenge you to go tell a Texan that their state is insignificant. You don’t have to be a Texan to know that Texas is frigging huge. Now imagine telling all the citizens of Texans that you plan to cover their entire state two times over with chemical sludge and plastic junk.

They’d boot you outta there faster than you can scream, “The Alamo!”

The Pacific Garbage Patch is a foul, disgusting, and embarrassing representation of the amazing human mind becoming completely unhinged.

All because we must have our plastic and we like to drink water from “disposable” plastic bottles…

Dolphin Swimming in Plastic Pollution

Here are some ugly stats about bottled water and its impact on our beautiful, beleaguered planet:

We are using a lot of plastic water bottles.

  • 1,500 is the number of water bottles consumed in the U.S. alone every second.
  • In just one week, from bottled water alone, the U.S. produces enough discarded bottles to circle the planet five times. (Environmental Investigation Agency)

We are not recycling them enough.

  • 167 is the average number of plastic bottles used per person annually in the U.S. Only 38 (23%) of those bottles gets recycled.
  • Because Americans recycle only 23% of PET plastic, 38 billion water bottles are thrown away annually. This equates to $1 billion worth of plastic that could have been recycled and used as carpeting, synthetic decking, playground equipment, and new bottles and containers. (The Huffington Post)

We are wasting money on plastic water bottles.

  • The average cost per plastic water bottle is $1.45. Americans spend $242 per person per year on bottles of plastic water that are harming our health, animals’ health, and the environment.

We are polluting our environment and killing other species with them.

  • Water bottles are made of completely recyclable polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastics, which do not biodegrade; instead, they break down into smaller fragments over time. Those fragments absorb toxins that pollute our waterways, contaminate our soil, and sicken animals, which many humans then eat. (The Huffington Post)
  • Plastic bottles and plastic bags are the most prevalent form of pollution found on our beaches and in our oceans. (Huffington Post, Ocean Conservatory)
  • Hundreds of thousands of sea turtles, whales, and other marine mammals, and more than one million seabirds die each year from ocean pollution and ingestion or entanglement in marine debris. Marine debris is manmade waste that is directly or indirectly disposed of in oceans, rivers, and other waterways. (SeeTurtles.org)

The Problem with Aluminum Water Bottles

You may see aluminum water bottles on the market. While they’re not plastic, aluminum bottles don’t cut it either. Aluminum is already in a lot of products we use, and exposure to high doses can pass the blood brain barrier, leading to neurotoxicity. In addition, aluminum water bottles are often lined with materials that contain BPA or other chemicals. (Why would they line them with plastic? We can only guess to prevent the leaching of aluminum into the beverage itself.)

  • Aluminum has been implicated as a potential risk factor in Alzheimer’s Disease and for elderly cognitive impairment. Aluminum levels in the brain increase with age. In one study, they were over 20-times higher in the elderly than middle aged people. And a correlation was found between aluminum levels and “densities of senile plaques and neurofibrillary tangles.” In addition, clinical intervention to lower brain aluminum by chelation has been shown to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s Disease. (U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health)

We think this is enough to just say no to aluminum water bottles!

Why risk your health when it’s so easy to drink from a reusable water bottle that is not controversial – for your health or the health of our planet?

Get in the habit of carrying your stainless steel or glass water bottle with you at all times like you carry your cell phone!

If you get in the habit of carrying your reusable bottle with you wherever you go, you won’t be tempted to use plastic water bottles when you’re thirsty. The stone-cold reality is that plastic water bottles could be harming your health and they are definitely harming our beautiful planet, as well as the animals with whom we share this planet.

It might seem like an investment to spend $15 or more on a water bottle, but if you consider the average American is spending $242 per year on plastic water bottles with all of their misgivings, then investing in a few reusable water bottles for you and your family is well worth it! Santé!

25 Backpack Brands that Make Eco-Friendly and Vegan Backpacks

Eco-Friendly and Vegan Backpack Brands
Whether you’re looking for an eco-friendly backpack that you can take hiking or a dressier vegan backpack for work, here are some styles from the best backpack brands that will suit your needs.

There are faux leather backpacks and others made with sustainable natural materials, such as hemp, cork, and jute. Plus, there are as a number of styles made with recycled materials, including recycled plastic bottles. You’ll be sure to find the perfect cruelty-free, eco backpack to fit your needs. And all of the packs featured here are vegan.

 

1. MATT & NAT Stylish Vegan Backpacks

MATT & NAT Stylish Vegan Backpacks

Multiple colors: fire red, dark red, lavender pink, black, sage green, tan, white, and bone

MATT & NAT’s vegan backpacks, handbags, shoes, and other accessories are redefining how the fashion industry views luxury style. Completely cruelty-free from their origins, MATT & NAT also focuses on making their products in the least environmentally harmful way possible.

The name MATT & NAT is derived from the words “materials” and “nature.” And as the origins of their name implies, MATT & NAT uses natural, plantbased, and recycled materials in their designs whenever possible. Natural materials include cork and natural rubber; and recycled materials include recycled nylon and recycled rubber.

MATT & NAT offers so many lovely faux leather backpacks that it was impossible for me to pick a favorite. So, be sure to visit to their Amazon store to see their collection.

MATT & NAT MIni Vegan Faux Leather Backpacks

MATT & NAT’s faux leather backpacks are available in a variety of colors, including fire red, dark red, lavender pink, black, sage green, tan, white, and bone.

To see MATT & NAT’s stylish handbags, check out my post on vegan purses.

Price: ~$69.00 – $195.00

Buy Now on Matt & Nat

 

2. Eco Backpacks Made with Recycled Plastic Bottles

Eco Backpacks Made with Recycled Plastic BottlesJohnny Urban is a brand that makes a variety of vegan backpacks that are made from 100% recycled plastic bottles. The straps are vegan faux leather and the material is water resistant.

These backpacks have magnetic snap fasteners and a zipper pocket under the front flap. Plus, there’s a padded compartment for your laptop.
Measurements: 17.7” x 12.2” x 4.7”

Eco-Friendly Backpacks Made with Recycled Plastic Bottles

Price: ~$29.95 – $49.95

Buy Now on Amazon

 

3. Patagonia Recycled Backpacks

Patagonia Refugio Recycled BackpackFor over four decades, Patagonia has been producing super high-quality products that are infused with environmental consciousness and low-impact materials. And the company has recently pledged to be completely carbon neutral by the year 2025. Patagonia’s recycled backpacks are made with recycled nylon and recycled polyester.

Here’s a video about Patagonia’s Refugio backpack, one of their most popular daypacks.

Price: ~$99.00 – $169.00

Buy Now on Patagonia

 

4. Patagonia Black Hole Day Pack

Patagonia Black Hole Back PackPatagonia’s Black Hold Pack is the perfect daypack for outdoor adventures or running around town. It’s made with super tough 100% recycled polyester fabric that is water-resistant. Plus, it has a 100% recycled polyester lining and 100% recycled nylon webbing.

It’s got a large main pocket compartment that has an internal padded sleeve that will fit a 15″ laptop. On the outside, it has daisy chain lash points that will securely hold your skateboard or yoga mat.

In addition, it has a zippered front pocket for things you need quick-access to. Padded shoulder straps make it comfortable for all day wear and a molded back panel wicks moisture and allows airflow to get though.

Here’s a video about the Black Hole Pack:

Price: ~$129.00

Buy Now on Patagonia

 

5. Eco-Friendly Backpacks by Ecogear

Eco-Friendly and Vegan Backpacks by EcogearEcogear is another brand that makes great backpacks out of 100% recycled materials. This backpack is perfect for business trips or recreational travel. It has cushioned shoulder straps and a padded compartment for your laptop. It will fit a 15” laptop.

There are also two internal zip pockets and seven outside zippered compartments.

This pack measures 18.5″ long x 13″ wide x 8″ deep.

See more Ecogear backpacks in their Amazon store.

Price: ~$49.99

Buy Now on Amazon

 

6. Ecogear Eco Hiking Backpack

Ecogear Eco Hiking BackpackAnother great recycled backpack by Ecogear, this pack is perfect for hiking and other adventures. It has an adjustable hip belt and shoulder straps to get the perfect fit, plus there’s a back venting system for airflow.

It measures 26″ long x 13″ wide x 9.5″ deep.

Price: ~$69.27

Buy Now on Amazon

 

7. Fjallraven Recyclable Plastic Bottles Pack

Fjallraven Recycled Plastic Bottles PackThis minimalist convertible pack can be worn as a backpack or carried by its sturdy handles. It’s also made with recycled plastic. Each Fjallraven backpack keeps 11 plastic water bottles out of the landfill.

Fjallraven Recycled Plastic Bottles Pack

This eco backpack measures 14.9″ x 10.6″ x 5.1″.

Price: ~$89.95

Buy Now on Amazon

 

8. ChicoBag Recycled PET Plastic Rucksack

ChicoBag Recyled PET Plastic RucksackIf you’re looking for a compact daypack that’s also eco-friendly, check out this rucksack by ChicoBag. It’s made with a durable ripstop fabric that’s made from 100% post-consumer recycled plastic bottles, which is lightweight and washable.

This rucksack has an adjustable sternum strap and padded, adjustable, and breathable shoulder straps. It comes with a carabiner, so you can attach the pack to another backpack or your luggage. It’s also set up to hold a hydration pack, so you can add a liquid reservoir and stay hydrated on the go.

Available colors: red, black, blue, and gray

Price: ~$29.73

Buy Now on Amazon

 

9. Cotopaxi Luzon Day Pack

Cotopaxi Luzon Pack

Every Cotopaxi Luzon day pack is one of a kind. Employees select the color combinations from reclaimed nylon fabric scraps. You can see Cotopaxi’s tote bags in my post on recycled totes.

This ultra-lightweight pack has mesh shoulder straps, making this the perfect travel pack. When it’s empty, it’s easy to roll up and pack into your luggage or larger bag.

This versatile pack has a large main compartment with top drawstring closure. Plus, there’s an internal zippered compartment, so you can keep dirty clothes or shoes separate from the rest of your gear. There are also two mesh water bottle sleeves for easy access to hydration. In addition, you get a smaller internal compartment with a clip for your keys.

See more recycled backpacks at REI.

Price: ~$70.00

Buy Now on REI

 

10. Alchemy Goods Recycled Tire Inner Tubes Backpack

Alchemy Goods Recycled Tire Inner Tubes BackpackAlchemy Goods hand makes cool bags and accessories out of reclaimed bicycle inner tubes in their workshop in Seattle, Washington. To date, they’ve kept over 500,000 inner tubes out of the landfill. This practically waterproof backpack has two easy-access exterior zipper pockets and two inside pockets. Plus, it has a padded laptop sleeve that will easily hold a 15″ laptop. In addition, it has adjustable, padded shoulder straps.

All of Alchemy Goods’ products come with limited lifetime warranty.

Measurements: 18” x 12” x 4.5”

Price: ~$178.00

Buy Now on Amazon

 

11. Recycled Newsprint Backpack by Upcycling by Milo

Recycled Newsprint Backpack by Upcycling by MiloUpcycling by Milo makes unique accessories from a wide variety of reclaimed materials, including candy wrappers, old prints, vinyl records, and billboards.

This eco backpack is 100% vegan and made with upcycled newspaper. The newspaper is cut into strips and then laminated to protect the print and your belongings inside.

This backpack has two internal pockets, including one for your phone and a zipper pocket for other valuables. It has a magnetic closure.

You can order this cute backpack in small or large:

  • The small size measures 9.7″ wide x 10.8″ tall x 4.8″ deep.
  • And the large measures 11.4″ wide x 12.6” tall x4.8″ deep.

You can see more unique designs by Upcycling by Milo in my posts about eco-friendly messenger bags and iPad mini covers.

Price: ~$120.00

Buy Now on Amazon

 

12. Recycled Sheet Music Knapsack

Recycled Sheet Music Knapsack Another unique design by Upcycling by Milo, this vegan-friendly backpack is made with upcycled sheet music.

It’s also available in small and large sizes.

  • The small size measures 9.7″ wide x 10.8″ tall x 4.8″ deep.
  • And the large measures 11.4″ wide x 12.6” tall x4.8″ deep.

Price: ~$120.00

Buy Now on Amazon

 

13. Piñatex Pineapple Leather Knapsacks by Maravillas Bags

Vegan Pineapple Leather Backpack by Maravillas Bags

Maravillas hand makes sustainable handbags in their workshop in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. (They do create some styles in traditional leather, so be sure to look for the designs that are made with 100% vegan and sustainable materials.)

This stylish backpack is made with eco-friendly, sustainable, and vegan Piñatex pineapple leather.

It measures 12.6” tall x 10.6” wide x 6.7” deep.

You can see more accessories and shoes made with pineapple leather in my post about Piñatex.

And you can see purses by Maravillas in my post about vegan handbags.

Price: ~$226.14

Buy on Etsy

 

14. Piñatex Pineapple Leather Backpack by Maniwala

Piñatex Pineapple Leather Backpack by Maniwala

Maniwala is another stylish brand that makes stylish backpacks and other accessories with sustainable Piñatex. This vegan-friendly backpack is ethically made in the U.S.A. It’s lined with organic hemp and is 100% plastic-free. It has two interior pockets and will hold a 13” laptop.

Piñatex Pineapple Leather Vegan Backpack by ManiwalaMeasurements: 14.5″ tall x 14” wide x 6” deep

Maniwala also makes a laptop sleeve with Piñatex, which you can see in my post about vegan and eco-friendly laptop cases.

Price: ~$226.14

Buy on Etsy

 

15. Haiku Recycled Bottles Convertible Backpack

Haiku Recycled Bottles Convertible Backpack

This eco-friendly backpack by Haiku is made with 100% recycled plastic bottles. Your purchase keeps 17 plastic bottles from the entering the landfill or polluting the ocean. This backpack can be converted into a crossbody messenger bag. It has two outside pockets, which will fit your reusable water bottle and other items. Plus, there’s an interior pocket that will hold a tablet computer.

This backpack measures 10″ tall x 9.5″ wide.

Available colors: red, black, black with white detail, blue, teal, and gray

Price: ~$64.99

Buy Now on Amazon

 

16. Recycled Firefighter Backpack

Recycled Firefighter Backpack
For a cool, rugged look, check out this backpack made with reclaimed authentic firefighter turnout gear. And just in case you think you’ll get soot on you if you wear this -pack, no worries – the material has been thoroughly cleaned.

This firefighter rucksack has a wide opening and pockets on the front and sides. Plus, it has an inside pocket and a snap enclosure. You can get it customized with your name or other message on the name plate. Each bag is handmade and one-of-a-kind.

Measurements: 17″ x 15″ x 5″

To see more cool items made from recycled firefighter gear, check out my posts on vegan dog collars and wallets.

Price: ~$135.00

Buy on Etsy

 

17. Dime Bags Pure Hemp Backpack

Dime Bags Pure Hemp Backpack

Dime Bags makes Earth-friendly and vegan bags with pure hemp. This hemp backpack has adjustable side straps and contoured shoulder straps to create a comfortable fit. It has four different compartments plus two holders for your reusable water bottles.

This eco-friendly and vegan backpack also comes with a removable pouch that doesn’t release odors to hold secret things. You can also remove the Velcro label to be a little more incognito.

Dime Bags Pure Hemp RucksacksAvailable colors: black, brown, white, heather black, Kelly green, olive green, royal blue, turquoise blue, or hot pink

Measurements: 18” x 11” x 7”

To see more pure hemp bags from Dime Bags, check out my posts on messenger bags and vegan handbags.

Price: ~$77.00

Buy Now on Amazon

 

18. Dime Bags Mini Hemp Knapsack

Dime Bags Mini Hemp KnapsackIf you’re looking for a cute mini backpack, this pure hemp style from Dime Bags will fit the bill. It has adjustable side straps and contoured shoulder straps to get the perfect fit, plus a handy top handle.

There’s an outside zipper pocket and an inner a secret pocket, plus internal organizers in the main compartment. And you can also remove the Velcro label to be more incognito.

Dime Bags Mini Hemp Backpacks

Available colors: black, brown, heather black, olive green, turquoise blue, or hot pink

Measurements: 8” x 3” x 9” inches

To see more pure hemp accessories from Dime Bags, check out my posts on vegan handbags and vegan wallets.

Price: ~$38.50

Buy Now on Amazon

 

19. Recycled Jute Rice Bag Backpack

Recycled Jute Rice Bag BackpackThis unique backpack is made with recycled jute rice bags. Each bag is handmade and one-of-a-kind. It has a top flap and is fully lined. There are three outside pockets that have button closures and adjustable straps. There’s also a back loop on the pack, so you can hang it up.

Price: ~$24.95

Buy Now on Amazon

 

20. Corkor Cork Leather Vegan Backpack

Corkor Cork Leather Vegan BackpackCorkor is an environmentally-conscious brand that makes a line of high-quality, stylish vegan accessories from all-natural and sustainable cork.

The Corkor team are advocates for animal welfare and protecting the planet. I love this brand because they’re truly breaking ground in the fashion and accessories world by showing that you don’t need something to be made of animal skin to be sleek and high-quality.

Corkor’s non-leather backpacks are made in Portugal by local artisans. They are eco-friendly, ethical, and PETA Approved Vegan.

Corkor Cork Leather Vegan Backpack
To see more sustainable accessories from Corkor, check out my posts on vegan belts and eco-friendly messenger bags.

Price: ~$154.50

Buy Now on Amazon

 

21. Cork Mini Backpack with Flowers

Cork Mini Backpack with Flowers

This cute backpack is 100% vegan and is made with eco-friendly and sustainable cork. It has a cotton lining, adjustable straps, and a thumb-catch closure.

Cork Mini Backpack with Flowers on GirlMeasurements: 15” x 13.4” x 3”

Price: ~$90.46

Buy on Etsy

 

22. Block Stripes Cork Backpack

Block Stripes Cork BackpackThis stylish mini backpack is also made with eco-friendly cork. Cork bark is a sustainable material that does not harm the tree when it’s harvested. In fact, harvesting the cork enable the tree to absorb even more CO2 from the atmosphere. Cork forests are also home to a number of endangered species, so purchasing products made from cork helps to ensure that cork forests are not cut down.

Measurements: 11.4” x 9.4”

Price: ~$99.68

Buy on Etsy

 

23. Leafling Cork Backpack

Leafling Cork Backpacks

This cute backpack shows the world that you’re a nature lover to the core. It’s made with PETA Approved vegan cork leather. Other colors are available.

Measurements: 8″ x 9″

Price: ~$114.00

Buy on Etsy

 

24. Black Vegan Cork Backpack

Black Vegan Cork Backpack

This versatile and stylish black backpack is made with sustainable and natural cork. It’s waterproof, so will protect your belongings on rainy days. The main compartment has snap closure, plus there’s a front compartment with a zipper closure. And there are other pockets and sections to keep your things organized.

Measurements: 17” x 12.2” x 4.7”

Price: ~$99.68

Buy on Etsy

 

25. Unique Embroidered Backpacks

Unique Embroidered Backpacks

If you love color and ornate designs, check out these embroidered backpacks by Goodhan. The embroidery is on cotton canvas. These pretty backpacks come in a variety of colors.

Measurements: 11.4’ x 9” x 5”

Price: ~$29.99

Buy Now on Amazon

Ziggy Marley Endorses the Anti-Climate Change Group Extinction Rebellion

Ziggy Marley
Ziggy Marley. Photos: Ziggy – Drew Wilson. Fractal – Soler97.

“The politicians and the industrial complex of financial institutions and big billionaires who profit from the destruction of the planet see no urgency in making an effort to make a change because of the bottom line,” said Ziggy Marley in an interview with the BBC. “They are making a profit. They don’t want to jeopardize that.”

The singer and musician recently publicly endorsed environmental campaign groups like Extinction Rebellion because he feels that neither businesspeople nor politicians are paying enough attention to the public’s concerns about climate change. They are failing to take the needed actions to reverse the course of destruction.

“I feel things like Extinction Rebellion are necessary,” said Marley at the Womad music festival. “We have to be more willing than those who are in a place of power,” he added.

Extinction Rebellion poster
Extinction Rebellion poster. Photo: Hywel72.

Extinction Rebellion describes itself as an international apolitical network that uses non-violent direct action to persuade governments to act on the climate change, biodiversity loss, and the ecological catastrophe that we are facing right now.

The group was launched in October 2018 when a group of protesters assembled on Parliament Square in London to announce a declaration of rebellion against the UK government for not acting quickly enough on the environmental catastrophe that we face.

Here’s a video about Extinction Rebellion:

Extinction Rebellion is focused on three key goals. They are demanding that governments:

  1. Tell the truth about the existing climate and ecological emergency, and work with institutions to communicate the urgency for change.
  2. Act to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.
  3. Create a Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice. Similar to doing jury duty, members of the assembly would be randomly selected from the population, yet be representative of the population in terms of demographics, such as gender, age, ethnicity, education level, and geography.
Extinction Rebellion protests in London
Extinction Rebellion protests in London, April 2019. Photo: JWS Lubbock.

The assembly members would learn about critical thinking and then listen to balanced information from experts and stakeholders. Then, they would deliberate on issues and vote.

Citizens’ assemblies are currently used in countries such as Ireland, Canada, Australia, Belgium, and Poland, where they have demonstrated that the general public can understand complex information, deliberate on options, and make fair and impartial choices.

 

Rebellion Rises

Ziggy Marley
Ziggy Marley playing in Austin, Texas. Photo: Jay West.

Ziggy Marley’s most recent album is called Rebellion Rising. He describes the track by the same name as a song “about the movement for the better side of humanity.”

In an interview with Radio Milwaukee, he said, “That’s what it’s really about. This rebellion is not something that is against anything. It is for something. We have been seeing sometimes the best part of humanity, but mostly, if we check the media and what we are mostly bombarded with – in terms of visual and news and culture – we still have the negative things about humanity. We see wars. We see division. We see political strife.”

He continued, “I feel like there’s a part of humanity that exists that needs to rise up and show itself more, so that the better side of humanity can be seen and can give other human beings hope that this world can be a better place if we stand up for it.”

Here’s a video with Ziggy singing a medley of “Rebellion Rises” and his dad’s iconic song “One Love”:

Video: Ziggy Marley.

“I know the majority of people on Earth are loving people who want to live in peace with each other, who do not necessarily want to follow the ideologies of negativity, division, war, and separatism. So, if we can rebel and show our true self to the world, then more hope and more progress for a better existence can – will – not can – will be achieved. This is what the rebellion is about.”

A lot of people feel like no matter what we do, we always feel like we’re in this hole and we can’t dig ourselves out of it, but we know we can. You believe it. I believe it. I know I can. I know we will.”

“The rebellion begins in the mind, the melody, and the music. We are a conduit of that. The rebellion is consciousness. Now the consciousness starts spreading, we become aware and we rise.”

20 Best Wooden Sunglasses Brands + Bamboo Sunglasses

Wood and Bamboo Sunglasses for Women and Men

Wooden sunglasses and bamboo sunglasses make a fashion forward statement in today’s world, and the selection of frame styles and lenses has never been more diverse. I researched a variety of wood-framed and bamboo sunglasses brands and present my faves them here.

People often refer to bamboo as a wood, as in “bamboo wood sunglasses,” because bamboo has the same aesthetic qualities as real wood. However, bamboo is actually a fast-growing grass – it holds the world’s record for the fastest growing plant.

In addition to being Earth-friendly, both wood and bamboo sunglasses are lightweight, so they’re comfortable enough to wear all day long. Not to mention, many styles float, making them the perfect accessory for having fun in the water on a sunny summer day.

Today, you can find real wood sunglasses in cherry wood, maple, pear, and other varieties. And because every tree is different, no two pairs are exactly alike. Some designers are also making sunglasses from reclaimed wood that was previously used for flooring, skateboard decks, and other products.

Aside from the aesthetics, why should you buy sunglasses that are made with wood frames, bamboo, or other sustainable materials?

All over the world, people wear sunglasses. This year, Americans alone will buy 200 million pairs. With our growing plastic pollution crisis, it only makes sense to reduce the amount of virgin plastic we buy. Purchasing sunglasses that use less virgin plastic, or none at all, is the optimal way to go.

Here are some innovative brands making cool sunglasses with wood and bamboo frames:

Wooden Sunglasses

1. Woodies Sunglasses

Wood Framed Sunglasses by Woodies on Four Friends

As the name implies, Woodies is all about wood sunglasses. Their brand has a fun retro vibe, but their materials, including polarized lenses, are all cutting edge. The company is devoted to making petrol-plastic a thing of the past. Woodies offers a broad selection of men’s and women’s frame shapes in an impressive collection of woods, including rose wood, zebra wood, walnut, and more.

Woodies Polarized Wayfarer Sunglasses with Rainbow Arms

Here’s a promo video for Woodies:

Price: $25.00 – $55.00

Buy Now on Amazon

 

2. Paul Ven Designer Real Wood Sunglasses

Handmade Retro Real Wood Sunglasses by Paul VenDesigner Paul Ven creates artisanal real wood sunglasses in walnut, ebony, zebra wood, oak, and maple. Paul Ven’s designed are created in London, and their Etsy page claims,

“People (especially in London and probably other big cities) who don’t have these wood sunglasses will express high levels of jealousy towards you. They’re a real head turner. So be noticed, and be cheeky as a fox.”

Real Wood Sunglasses by Paul Ven with Round FramesEvery pair of Paul Vens is unique, and you can make them even more so (if that’s possible) by getting a custom message engraved inside the arm of the sunglasses.

They come with polarized, shatterproof polycarbonate lenses that offer 100% UVA/UVB protection, and ever pair has stainless steel spring hinges. But wait, there’s more: These babies float.

Price: $55.00 – $76.00

Buy on Etsy

 

3. Handmade Wood Sunglasses by Mitchell Made

Handmade Tortoise Shell and Wood Arm Sunglasses by Mitchell MadeBased in Sudbury, Canada, Mitchell Made is another designer that crafts beautiful wood and bamboo sunglasses by hand. Their styles are unique, but with a vintage feel. Mitchell Made ships their sunglasses with a faux leather case.

Aviator Wood Arm Sunglasses by Mitchell MadePrice: $47.00 – $63.00

Buy on Etsy

 

4. Mr. Woodini Ecological Wood Sunglasses

Mr. Woodini Ecological Wood Sunglasses, Women'sMr. Woodini hand makes their chic, eco-friendly sunglasses with wood and recycled materials. Their brand was born out of a desire to be innovative and refreshing, while integrating environmental consciousness into their designs. All of their wood sunglasses incorporate high-quality lenses that have 400UV protection, complying with sunny Australia’s strictest standards.

Visit their Etsy store to see their variety of styles that will looks great on anyone. All of their shades come in eco-friendly packaging, and with Etsy’s commitment to offset CO2 for all of their artisans’ shipping, you can’t go wrong with these cool shades.

Mr. Woodini Ecological Wood Sunglasses, Men'sPrice: ~$60.00 – $110.00

Buy on Etsy

 

5. Handmade Wood and Silver Sunglasses

Handmade Wood and Silver SunglassesThese beautiful and unique wood and silver sunglasses are handmade in Chiang Rai, Thailand.

Price: ~$269.00

Buy on Etsy

 

6. Zylo Eyewear Wood Frame Sunglasses

Zylo Eyewear Wood Frame SunglassesThese cool shades are handmade in Syros, Greece. Zylo makes a variety of other frame shapes.

Price: ~$234.50

Buy on Etsy

 

7. Woodeer Wooden Cat Eye Shades

Woodeer Wood Frame Cat Eye SunglassesWho says Cat Woman can’t be eco-chic? The sleek wooden cat eye shades are made with walnut wood in Riga, Latvia. Woodeer makes a variety of other frames shapes, as well as other accessories, like watches, with all-natural wood.

Price: ~$55.00 – $102.00

Buy on Etsy

 

8. Customized Wood Sunglasses

Custom Engraved Personalized Wood Sunglasses

If you’ve got a party coming up and want to give your guests a fun, eco-friendly gift, check out the selection of custom wood and bamboo sunglasses offered by Etsy artisans. A number of companies, like My Personal Memories, will engrave names and slogans on the arms of the shades.

Price: $24.99 – $45.00

Buy on Etsy

 

9. Wooden Frame Sunglasses by 4est Shades

Eco-Friendly Maple Wood Sunglasses by 4est Shades

4est Shades’ wooden sunglasses are all natural and handmade out of real maple and cherry wood. The company also make styles in bamboo.

All of their eco-friendly sunglasses are polarized to provide the UV protection you’d expect from any top brand. Plus, their high-quality wooden and bamboo sunglasses are super durable. Every pair comes with an engraved bamboo case and a microfiber cloth for upkeep and safekeeping. Eco-conscious in both product and practice, 4est Shades plants two trees for every pair of sunglasses they sell.

Eco-Friendly Wood Sunglasses by 4est Shades - Back View

Price: $32.95 – 49.99

Buy Now on Amazon

 

10. Blue Planet Beechwood Arm Sunglasses
Beechwood Arm Sunglasses by Blue Planet

Blue Planet is another socially conscious eyewear company whose brand means a lot more than quality eyewear. Based in Santa Barbara, California, they create sunglasses and corrective eyewear with a variety of sustainable materials, including wood, bamboo, recycled metal, and recycled plastic. You can see their recycled styles in my post “Recycled Sunglasses: Look Good While Doing Good.”

With every pair of glasses Blue Planet sells, they donate a pair of glasses to a person in need through their charitable partners. To date, they’ve improved the sight for over 400,000 visually impaired people around the world.

Here’s a video featuring Lisa Lawenda, a VP at Blue Planet, and Matt Weinstein, the company’s brand manager, talking about Blue Planet’s Visualize Change program, which helps restore sight for people around the world:

Price: $34.95 – $54.95

Buy Now on Amazon

 

11. Proof Sunglasses in Sustainable WoodEco-Friendly Wood Sunglasses by Proof Eyewear

Socially conscious brand Proof Eyewear donates 12% of their annual profits to charitable organizations around the world. They started making their wooden sunglasses from scraps in the family’s sawmill, and they eventually expanded to using recycled aluminum and bioplastics in their frames.

Known as the “Shark Tank Sunglasses,” Proof Sunglasses had their television debut on the popular show Shark Tank a few years ago. I loved story behind these socially conscious shades when I heard it. Little did I imagine at the time that I would be blogging about Proof Eyewear someday.

In their wood framed sunglasses, Proof used FSC certified wood. FSC is short for the Forest Stewardship Council, which is an international nonprofit that sets global standards for forest products. These standards help to promote eco-friendly, socially beneficial, and economically viable management of the world’s forests.

Wood Frame Sunglasses by Proof Eyewear on GuyProof’s lenses are UVA and UVB protected, and if you wear prescription lenses, you can easily swap them out in Proof’s eco-friendly frames.

Price: $64.00 – $119.00

Buy Now on Amazon

 

12. Woodzee Wooden Sunglasses

Wood Wayfarer Sunglasses by Woodzee

Woodzee hand makes their wood framed sunglasses in a variety of sustainable and reclaimed woods, including madrone, oak, and maple. Their shades are comfortable and lightweight, and each pair is one of a kind. All of their lenses are polarized with 100% UV400 protection.

Polarized Sunglasses in Pear Wood by Woodzee

Price: $54.99 – $99.99

Buy Now on Amazon

 

13. Tree Tribe Wooden Sunglasses

Eco Friendly Wood Frame Sunglasses by Tree Tribe Tree Tribe is an outdoor lifestyle brand that plants a whopping 10 trees for every sale they make. They design a number of eco-friendly products, including water bottles, eco-conscious clothing, and of course – cool, sustainable sunglasses.
Their real wood sunglasses have interchangeable, scratch resistant polarized lenses that offer UV400 protection. You can easily swap out their lenses for prescription lenses, or if you’re just in the mood to change lens colors.

Dark Wood Framed Sunglasses by Tree TribeHere’s a video that gives you a taste of what Tree Tribe is all about:

Price: $52.00 – $69.00

Buy on TreeTribe.com

Buy Now on Amazon

 

14. Zoni Wear Eco-Friendly and Sustainable Wooden Sunglasses

Zoni Ebony Wood Sunglasses

Zoni Wear hand makes wooden sunglasses, watches, and other accessories in their workshop in Plymouth, New Hampshire. They’ll custom engrave your shades to make them all your own or the perfect gift. They have some unique lens styles too, so you can stand out from the crowd.

Price: $25.20 – $42.30

Buy on Etsy

 

15. Winkwood Eyewear Wooden Sunglasses

Round Striped Wood Sunglasses with Green Lenses

Winkwood wooden sunglasses are made in Melbourne, Australia. Their sunglasses are made with reclaimed skateboard wood, zebra wood, vera wood, cherry wood, aluminum, and other materials.

Winkwood Wooden Sunglasses

Price: $20.85

Buy on Etsy

 

16. LeBrox Skateboard Wood Sunglasses

LeBrox Skateboard Wood Sunglasses

If you like the chunky-framed look, you’ll love LeBrox’s skateboard wood sunglasses. They’re handmade with layers of natural wood and reclaimed wooden skateboard decks. And every pair comes with polarized lenses. LeBrox also makes a few styles with bamboo frames.

Price: $55.00 – $75.07

Buy on Etsy

 

17. More Skateboard Wood Sunglasses

Skateboard Wood Sunglasses

To check out some cool sunglasses made with reclaimed skateboard wood, check out my post “Recycled Sunglasses: Look Good While Doing Good.”

 

Bamboo Sunglasses

You can find bamboo frame sunglasses in a variety of styles today, whether you’re looking for something modern or more traditional. Bamboo is a superstar sustainable material that makes great sunglasses. It’s easy to grow without much water, it grows fast, and it’s naturally anti-bacterial and water-resistant.

18. Bamboo Sunglasses by Tree Tribe

Bamboo Sunglasses by Tree TribeBuy one pair of these bamboo shades from Tree Tribe, and they’ll plant 10 trees in your honor.

Cat Eye Polarized Sunglasses in Bamboo by Tree TribeTree Tribe’s bamboo sunglasses come in wayfarer, cat eye, and other styles. And if you plan to be spending a lot of time in and out of the water, no worries – they’ll float!

Price: $47.81 – $55.00

Buy in TreeTribe.com

Buy Now on Amazon

 

19. Dress Positive Colorful Bamboo Sunglasses

Colorful Bamboo Sunglasses for Women and MenDress Positive makes a variety of colorful, hip sunglasses in sustainable bamboo, from round to aviators to wayfarers, and more. Check out their Etsy story to find the perfect frame for your personal style.

Price: ~$41.15 – $93.15

Buy on Etsy

 

20. Handmade Bamboo Sunglasses by Robin Wood

Handmade Bamboo Sunglasses by Robin WoodRobin Wood is a designer I found on Etsy that handmakes artisanal sunglasses from sustainable bamboo. Every pair has polarized lenses with UV400 protection, and they come with a two-year warranty. The company also designs wooden watches that have eco-friendly cork wristbands, so be sure to check out their Etsy store.

Price: $59.80

Buy on Etsy

To see more eco-conscious sunglasses, check out:

Recycled Sunglasses: Look Good While Doing Good

Recycled Sunglasses for Women and Men

Dr. Martens’ Profits Surge Thanks to Its Vegan Boots and Shoes

Dr. Martens Boots
Photo: Dr. Martens.

Dr. Martens, maker of the ultimate badass punk combat boots, has experience a 70 percent surge in profits this year partly thanks to its vegan line of boots and shoes.

Instead of leather made from animal skin, the footwear brand now offers a line of boots and shoes that look just like the leather styles, but are made with synthetic polyurethane. The company’s CEO, Kenny Wilson, said that sales for the vegan line have increased by “multiple hundreds of percent” in recent years, reports Jasper Jolly reports in the Guardian.

Check out Dr. Martens’ vegan boots for women here.

Dr. Martens Vegan Combat Boots

 

Check out Dr. Martens’ vegan boots for men here.Dr. Martens Vegan Chelsea Boots in Red, Men's

 

Toxic Trump’s Dis-Administration Wants to Gut the Endangered Species Act

Bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)
Bald eagle, Haliaeetus leucocephalus.

Just as experts at the UN have warned the world that one million species are on the brink of extinction, toxic Trump and his enablers are slashing the Endangered Species Act. I was going to try to be more politically correct in this post and not call Donald Trump and his dis-administration “toxic,” but there really is no other word. His is the party of death, destruction, and hate. In fact, I don’t even want to pollute UniGuide with his name. But he and his enablers need to be called out.

Today the Trump dis-administration announced they will change the way the Endangered Species Act is applied. According to the Washington Post, the changes “will end blanket protections for animals newly deemed threatened and allow federal authorities for the first time to take into account the economic cost of protecting a particular species.”

Donald Trump
Donald Trump. Photo: Gage Skidmore

In a statement, reports Lisa Friedman in the New York Times, Interior Secretary David Bernhardt said, “The best way to uphold the Endangered Species Act is to do everything we can to ensure it remains effective in achieving its ultimate goal – recovery of our rarest species. The Act’s effectiveness rests on clear, consistent, and efficient implementation.”

David Bernhardt, Secretary of the Interior under Donald Trump
David Bernhardt, Secretary of the Interior under Donald Trump. Photo: U.S. Department of Interior.

“Clear, consistent, and efficient implementation” of a law is not achieved by breaking it. And that’s what they’re doing. This party of corruption and disregard for the rule of law is breaking yet another law to serve the greedy interests of a few, at the expense of our health, the lives of other living species, and the well-being of future generations.

Wilbur Ross
Wilbur Ross, United States Secretary of Commerce. Photo: Palácio do Planalto.

 

Inexcusable, Willful Denial of the Impacts of Climate Change

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement that the finalized revisions “fit squarely within the president’s mandate of easing the regulatory burden on the American public, without sacrificing our species’ protection and recovery goals.”

The “regulatory burden on the American public.” Give me a break.

Let’s be clear: This is about business interests. Some people’s business interests. Not everyone’s business interests. This is NOT about the “American public” and it certainly is not about protecting other species we share this planet with.

If you look at Trump, Bernhardt, and Ross – do they look like people who know what it feels like to walk silently in a forest woodland so they can listen to the songs of birds? Do they look like people who even know what it feels like to breathe lungfuls of fresh mountain air?

Their slashing of the Endangered Species Act is to enable more drilling for oil and gas, more mining, and more development in the natural habitats where other species live. Their slashing of the Endangered Species Act ignores how the decimation of natural habitats will only further add to the destruction caused by climate change.

Instead of cutting down trees, we need to plant more trees. That’s just one example. These science-deniers have no concept of how the loss of just one species in an ecosystem can impact the entire system.

Do you think they have ever taken four minutes to watch this video?


And they’re gutting the Endangered Species Act for money? For economic interests? Whose? It’s estimated that climate change is going to cost the U.S. economy hundreds of billions of dollars over the next few decades. Do they care about the next generation? Do they care about their grandchildren? Or are they planning to raise toxic children in their toxic, dead world?

As, I said – they’re lazy in their thinking. They lack imagination. They lack the ability to innovate.

It’s Trump’s junk food approach to economics: impulsive reactions to appease addictions at the expense of overall health and longevity.

I am all for making money. I am a capitalist. I’m also pro-innovation. Trump is a technical Luddite. His and his enablers’ approach to economics is way behind the times. These are not the type of people who are going to invent the next Tesla or Impossible Foods.

We need to focus on renewable energy, not fossil fuels. We need to focus on recycling existing materials, not extracting virgin materials from our beleaguered planet. We need to focus on greener cities, not exploiting the last few precious wilderness areas we have left.

Look all around. Listen to what the scientists are saying. Read the peer-reviewed scientific studies. The days of raping and pillaging the Earth are over.

Florida manatee
Florida manatee, richechus manatus latirostris. Photo: Keith Ramos, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

 

If not for the Endangered Species Act:

  • The bald eagle – the symbol of the United States – would be extinct.
  • The grizzly bear would be extinct.
  • The peregrine falcon would be extinct.
  • The humpback whale would be extinct.
  • The Florida manatee would be extinct.
  • The Louisiana black bear would be extinct.
  • The whooping crane would be extinct.
  • The list goes on.

According to Tamara Dietrich in the Washington Post, since 1975, the number of endangered species has skyrocketed from 137 to 1,663. Another 43 species have recovered enough to be removed from the list – but survived because of the Endangered Species Act.

In no other time in history, except at the time of the dinosaurs, have more living species been at risk of total annihilation. But what is different from what happened with the dinosaurs is that the cause of mass deaths today is us. Our consumption habits, our over-population, our hubris, and our greed – this is what is killing life on this planet.

Humpback whale underwater
Humpback whale, Megaptera novaeangliae. Photo: NOAA.

 

This is what’s causing mass extinction now:

  • Climate change from our greenhouse gas emissions
  • Habitat loss, such as clearcutting rainforests to grow feedstock for cattle to graze on so people can eat beef (which causes cancer and heart disease)
  • Over-fishing and over-hunting
  • Invasion of non-native species in natural habitats
  • Pollutants we put into the air, oceans, waterways, and land

The Endangered Species Act is the most powerful tool that we have available to protect at-risk wildlife, says Collette Adkins, as reported in the Washington Post. She’s the senior attorney and carnivore conservation director in the Minneapolis office of the Center for Biological Diversity. About 95% of the species that the Endangered Species Act safeguards are still hanging on.

“What’s really powerful about it,” she said, “is that once these species have its protections, certain threats are eliminated. What can be frustrating when you have a crisis like we’re experiencing now is that the (act) only kicks in once those species are on the brink of extinction.”

Adkins added that it takes even greater amounts of time and money to get the species recovered again.

Plants and animals are at risk of dying if the person who occupies the Oval Office is anti-environment, as is the case right now.

“If the president is pro-environment,” said Adkins, “there are more species listed. And if the president is against the environment, there are fewer species listed,” she said in the Washington Post.

 

Number of species added to the Endangered Species List during the last few U.S. presidential administrations:

  • Ronald Reagan: 256 species added, at a rate of 32 per year
  • George H.W. Bush: 235 species added, or 59 per year
  • Bill Clinton: 525 added, or 66 per year
  • George W. Bush: 60 added, or just 8 per year
  • Barack Obama: 390 added, or 49 per year
  • Donald Trump: 16 species added so far, or 6 per year

Data: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Source: Washington Post.

Grizzly bear (Ursus arctos) and cubs
A grizzly bear, Ursus arctos, and her cubs in Denali National Park and Preserve. Photo: Tim Rains, National Park Service.

 

What You Can Do to Protect Endangered Species

We have to keep in mind that while we have an anti-environment and anti-biodiversity dis-administration in office, which is also anti-science, we risk even knowing what species of plants and animals are at risk because scientists can be hampered in their work. This is why supporting NGOs that focus on biodiversity protection is so important.

Call your state senators and representatives.

Emails and petitions are important, but phone calls have a big impact with elected officials. Call your state senators and representatives and tell them you’re against the gutting of the Endangered Species Act.

U.S. Senate

U.S. House of Representatives

Here are a couple places where you can see which species are endangered in your area:

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

National Geographic Interactive Map with Endangered Species

Here are some organizations that protect biodiversity:

Center for Biological Diversity

Panthera

Xerces Society

Jane Goodall Institute

Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)

Conservation International

National Audubon Society

Oceana

Keep fighting. My motto is: I will not give up until I’m dead. And even then, people who know me and love me – and even those who don’t know me but who love people, animals, and our planet – will keep fighting. Never give up the fight to protect life on Planet Earth.

23 Cool Beanies for Men: Hemp, Recycled, Organic Cotton & Vegan

Cool Men's Beanies and Knit HatsHere are some cool beanies for men in an assortment of materials that also happen to vegan. I found a number of great styles made from fabric blends that will keep your head warm in the winter (without using itchy wool) or cool in the summer and protected from the sun.

The best beanies for men look great while being made with eco-friendly materials, like hemp, organic cotton, and recycled polyester. So, whether you’re looking for a slouchy hat, a fitted skully, or a longshoreman-style knit cap, you’ll find some great options here.

1. Soul Role Organic Cotton and Hemp Beanie Hat

3-leaf-icon-40 Eco-Friendly Brand

Soul Role Organic Cotton and Hemp Beanie HatBased on the beautiful Hamakua Coast in Laupahoehoe, Hawaii, SoulRole handcrafts ethical clothing using organic, eco-friendly fabrics. You can see some of their eco-friendly hoodies here on UniGuide.

SoulRole makes a few different styles of stylish beanies for men, all in eco-friendly fabrics. Their heather hats are made with an organic cotton and hemp jersey blend, making them super soft to the touch and comfy enough to wear all day without being itchy.

Available colors: storm gray, light brown, red wine, stone blue, and forest green

Men’s Organic Cotton and Hemp Knit Colors

Price: ~$24.95

Buy on Etsy

 

2. Men’s Organic Cotton and Hemp Slouchy Knit Hat

3-leaf-icon-40 Eco-Friendly Brand

Men’s Organic Cotton and Hemp Slouchy Knit HatAnother cool style from SoulRole, this men’s slouch beanie is also handmade with naturally stretchy organic cotton and hemp blend fabric.

Price: ~$25.00

Buy on Etsy

 

3. Recycled Plastic and Organic Cotton Guitar Beanie

3-leaf-icon-40 Eco-Friendly Brand

Recycled Plastic and Organic Cotton Guitar Beanie

This cool, heather gray beanie has a gold guitar emblazoned on the front. It’s made with an organic cotton and recycled polyester blend fabric. The guitar is printed with a non-toxic, water-based ink. It’s made in the USA in Florida.

Price: ~$20.00

Buy Now on Amazon

 

4. Colorful Hemp and Cotton Handmade Crochet Beanie

3-leaf-icon-40 Eco-Friendly Brand

Colorful Hemp and Cotton Handmade Crochet Beanie

Based in Russia, Hemp4Life’s founders Alena and Sergey are evangelists for the powerful properties of hemp as a sustainable material, which can be used to make a wide variety of comfortable, stylish clothes. Hemp4Lifes’ beanies for men include cool, slouchy hats and skullies that are all handmade with hemp and cotton knits that gets softer with age. They’ll keep your head warm in winter and cool in summer. Plus, hemp is highly resistant to ultraviolet light, which means it won’t fade easily in the sunlight and it will protect your head form harmful UV rays.

Be sure to visit Hemp4Life’s Etsy shop to see more of their designs.

Price: ~$21.90

Buy on Etsy

 

5. Men’s Linen Slouch Beanie

Men’s Linen Slouch BeanieThis cool and versatile vegan slouch hat is made with linen, cotton, and spandex.

Available colors: black, dark gray, light gray, and navy blue

Price: ~$25.62

Buy on Etsy

 

6. Men’s 100% Hemp Beanie

3-leaf-icon-40 Eco-Friendly Brand

Men’s 100% Hemp Beanie

Lightweight enough to wear in summer, this open knit slouchy cap is handmade with 100% hemp yarn. Hemp is highly resistant to ultraviolet light, which makes it ideal for protecting your head from the sun.

Available colors: black, dark gray, light gray, and beige

Price: ~$22.99

Buy Now on Amazon

 

7. Brimmed Skully Hat

Brimmed Skully Hat

This cool skullcap is handmade with 100% cotton. It has a subtle brim for a little extra, understated style.

Price: ~$17.61

Buy on Etsy

 

8. Patagonia 100% Recycled Polyester Knit Hat

3-leaf-icon-40 Eco-Friendly Brand

Patagonia Men's 100% Recycled Polyester Knit HatPatagonia makes a variety of super high-quality and durable beanies for men. Their recycled polyester hats are soft and itch-free. Plus, they dry fast, making them perfect for intense powder days, cold-weather runs, or just bumming around town when you’re on the move. This mean’s sky hat is made with 100% recycled polyester.

Available in multiple color combinations

Price: ~$39.00

Buy Now on Patagonia

 

9. Patagonia 100% Recycled Beanie

3-leaf-icon-40 Eco-Friendly Brand

Patagonia Recycled Knit BeanieAnother cool beanie by Patagonia made from 100% recycled polyester, this cap is also super soft and, unlike wool, it’s itch-free. Fast-driving and versatile, it’s the perfect cap for daily use.

Available in multiple color combinations

Price: ~$29.00

Buy Now on Patagonia

 

10. Patagonia Rolled Fisherman’s Cap

3-leaf-icon-40 Eco-Friendly Brand

Men's Fisherman's Hat, PatagoniaThis classic knit fisherman’s cap is made with an itch-free 96% recycled polyester and 4% spandex yarn, so it will comfortably stay snug on your head without getting too hot.

Available colors: red, brown, black, gray, royal blue, navy blue, hot pink, and green

Price: ~$29.00

Buy Now on Patagonia

 

11. Patagonia Low-Volume Beanie

3-leaf-icon-40 Eco-Friendly Brand

Patagonia Recycled Low-Volume BeaniePatagonia’s low-volume beanie will fit comfortable under a helmet and the 100% recycled polyester fabric is soft against your skin without the itch of wool. It’s also lightweight and stuffable, so it’s easy to pack. An all-around versatile cap for outdoor pursuits and hanging out in town.

Available in multiple patterns and color combos

Price: ~$39.00

Buy Now on Patagonia

 

12. Recycled Fleece Sweater Cap

3-leaf-icon-40 Eco-Friendly Brand

Men's Recycled Fleece Cap by PatagoniaPatagonia’s recycled fleece sweater cap is made with 100% recycled polyester. It’s dyed with a low-impact dying process that uses less energy and water compared to conventional dyeing methods. This cap is also Fair Trade Certified™.

Available in blue, gray, black, green, and wine heather

Price: ~$39.00

Buy Now on Patagonia

 

13. Men’s Recycled Cotton Knit Hat

3-leaf-icon-40 Eco-Friendly Brand

Men’s Recycled Cotton Knit HatThis classic ski hat by Coal is made with recycle cotton yarn.

Available colors: black, gray, mustard, and red

Price: ~$22.50 – $34.00

Buy Now on Amazon

 

14. Men’s Acrylic Slouch Beanie

Men’s Acrylic Slouch BeanieAnother style from Coal, this cap has a little extra room for slouch. It’s made with 100% acrylic yarn, which is a great cruelty-free alternative to wool that will still keep your head warm.

Available colors: black, charcoal gray, striped multi, green, blue, purple, and burgundy red

Price: ~$25.18

Buy Now on Amazon

 

15. United by Blue Socially Conscious 100% Recycled Ski Hat

3-leaf-icon-40 Eco-Friendly Brand

United by Blue Socially Conscious 100% Recycled Ski Hat

United by Blue is a mission-driven, socially conscious company that removes one pound of trash from the world’s oceans and waterways with every product they sell.

This cuffed ski hat is made with 100% recycled polyester.

Available in multiple colors.

Price: ~$38.00

Buy Now on Amazon

 

16. United by Blue Recycled Mariner Beanie

3-leaf-icon-40 Eco-Friendly Brand

United by Blue Recycled Mariner Beanie

Another great eco-friendly hat, this classic mariner’s cap is made with 100% recycled polyester. Your purchase will help to remove one pound of trash from the world’s oceans, riverways, and lakes.

Available colors: brown, navy, green, and red

Price: ~$28.00

Buy Now on Amazon

 

17. North Face Salty Dog Knit Cap

North Face Salty Dog Knit Cap

Another classic, longshoreman-style beanie, this cap is from the North Face and it’s made with 100% synthetic, vegan-friendly materials.

Available colors: black, charcoal gray, olive green, red, navy blue, white, burgundy red

Price: ~$34.50 – $77.00

Buy Now on Amazon

 

18. Burton Knit Hat

Burton Knit Hat

A classic ski hat with a little bit of slouch, this cap is made with 100% acrylic.

Available colors: black, heather gray, rose, tan, forest green, moss green, olive green, pale orange, burgundy red

Price: ~$24.99

Buy Now on Amazon

 

19. Men’s Slouch Beanie and Neck Warmer

Men’s Slouch Beanie and Neck Warmer

For cold days, check out this slouchy hat and neck warmer combo. It’s made with soft, stretchy polyester. The double-layer material is windproof, making it great for outdoors adventures.

Available colors: black, navy blue, brown, red, and light gray

Price: ~$14.99

Buy Now on Amazon

 

20. Men’s Vegan Brimmed Beanie

Men’s Vegan Brimmed Beanie

If you’re looking for a brimmed beanie made with vegan-friendly materials, check out this 100% acrylic style by Folie Co. The visor brim measures 2.5”, providing extra protection from the cold, wind, and sun.

Available colors: charcoal, black, red, teal blue, rose

Price: ~$15.99

Buy Now on Amazon

 

21. Carhartt Knit Blend Vegan Hat

Knit Blend Vegan Hat

This cap is made with a vegan-friendly stretch fabric blend that’s made with acrylic, polyester, and cocona coconut fiber.

Available colors: black, red, gray, light olive

Price: ~$19.99

Buy Now on Amazon

 

22. Carhartt Rolled Acrylic Beanie

Carhartt Rolled Acrylic Men's Black BeanieThis cap is made with a vegan-friendly stretch fabric blend that’s made with acrylic, polyester, and cocona coconut fiber.

Available colors: black, brown, and gray

Price: ~$14.95

Buy Now on REI

 

23. Double Layer Knit Slouchy Hat

Double Layer Knit Slouchy Hat

For those cold days, check out this slouch hat made with a double layer of acrylic knit and fleece. It’s also windproof.

Available colors: black, gray

Price: ~$11.89 – $17.89

Buy Now on Amazon

Murders of Environmental Activists Are Increasing

Berta Cáceres
Berta Cáceres, a Honduran environmental and Indigenous rights activist who successfully pressured the world’s largest dam builder to pull out of the Agua Zarca Dam in Río Gualcarque, Honduras. She was assassinated in 2016. Photo: UN Environment.

During the past 15 years, the number of people who have been killed for defending the natural environment has doubled, according to a new report from the journal Nature Sustainability.

Every week, four people are murdered for protecting the environment. This number may seem small compared to murders from gun violence in the United States – our national disgrace. But this isn’t a contest. Both are reflections of the worst aspects of humanity – the human mind when it’s lost its way.

Between 2014-2017, 683 environmental activists have been murdered, according to data from Global Witness, a human rights organization. Thirty-four percent, or 230, of these deaths were related to mining and agribusiness.

But the actual number of murders is most likely higher, reports Yessenia Funes in Gizmodo. Because language barriers, lack of human rights advocates, and censorship of journalists and the media in the places where the murders are occurring make it difficult to get accurate information on the deaths.

Those murdered include Indigenous people protecting their land, community activists, journalists, and lawyers. Indigenous people represent 40 percent of the deaths.

But whereas 43 percent of murders worldwide result in a conviction, only 10 percent of murders of environmental activists do, reports Jonathan Watts in the Guardian.

The murders of environmental activists are concentrated in countries with high corruption and weak laws. Almost all of the murders of environmental defenders happened in countries that get low scores for high corruption, lack of human rights, lack of legal oversight, and lack of transparency. Most of the murders are taking place in tropical and subtropical countries, notably, Central and South America.

Jairo Mora Sandoval
Jairo Mora Sandoval, a Costa Rican environmentalist who was murdered in 2013 while protecting leatherback turtle nests. Photo: WIDECAST.

 

Scary Parallels with Donald Trump and His Enablers

While those of us who live in the U.S. might think murders of environmental activists in the rainforests of Central and South America are far from our reality, think again.

We have a person in the Oval Office and enablers of him who display scarily similar behaviors to corrupt people in power in the places where activists, journalists, and others are getting killed for defending the environment, including a:

  • Disregard for the rule of law and willingness to obstruct justice
  • Enriching themselves at the expense of the majority of people in the country
  • Trying to suppress journalists and the media from telling the truth
  • Emotional disconnection from and exploitation of the natural environment
  • Denying scientific facts

 

Jair Bolsonaro, the far-right president of Brazil, is horrifying too.

Deforestation in Brazil
Deforestation in Brazil. Photo: NASA.

The study in Nature Sustainability underscored the threat that Brazilian activists face under President Jair Bolsonaro, whom Trump congratulated in a tweet upon is inauguration, saying “the U.S.A. is with you!”

For the record, as an American citizen, I am not with Trump or Bolsonaro.

Even before Bolsonaro came to power, reports Yessenia Funes in Gizmodo, Brazil had a disproportionately high number of murders of environmental activists. And there is logical concern that things will be even worse under Bolsonaro, who, like Trump, has praised dictators and repeatedly spoken in physically violent terms.

Jose Claudio Ribeiro da Silva
Jose Claudio Ribeiro da Silva, a Brazilian conservationist, who campaigned against logging and clearcutting of trees in the Amazon Rainforest. He originally worked as a community leader at a forest reserve that produced sustainable rainforest products, including oils and nuts. He and his wife, Maria do Espírito Santo, were murdered in 2011. Photo: ResearchGate.

“We think attacks on Indigenous people are likely to increase, particularly in Brazil where Jair Bolsonaro has taken power with a promise that Indigenous people must adapt to the majority or disappear,” said Frances Lambrick, who co-authored the study and is the director of the nonprofit Not1More. “He is putting exploitation of the environment first.”

Michelle Bachelet, the UN high commissioner for human rights, said “The Brazilian government’s proposed policy to open up more areas of the Amazon to mining could lead to incidents of violence, intimidation, and killings of the type inflicted on the Waiãpi people last week,” Jonathan Watts reported in the Guardian.

In July, a group of miners invaded a remote village in the northern state of Amapá, Brazil and killed the Indigenous leader Emrya Wajãpi. President Bolsonaro questioned whether Emrya Wajãpi was murdered. However, Michelle Bachelet released a statement calling the murder “tragic and reprehensible,” reports the Pacific Standard.

Since Bolsonaro came to power, deforestation in Brazil has increased, including in areas where Indigenous people live. Yet, in Trumpian fashion, Bolsonaro has denied that deforestation is happening, and he recently fired one of the top scientists at Brazil’s National Space and Research Institute, who spoke out about deforestation, reports Yessenia Funes.

 

We are also accountable.

U.S. Mall
Sunrise Mall, Citrus Heights, California. Photo: J Smith.

Trump, Bolsonaro, and their enablers aside, as consumers, we all have to come to terms with our role in the degradation of the environment and even the deaths of these activists.

We need to start incorporating more environmental accountability in our daily lives. We need to view our impact on the natural environment in the same way that we know physically abusing another person is wrong, hurting animals is wrong, and stealing is wrong. We have the moral capability to do the right thing. This needs to extend to our consumption habits and our impact on the environment.

In human evolution, we have reached a fork in the road: We are either protectors of the natural environment or destroyers. We are either living in a way that promotes sustainability and biodiversity or we are not.

If we are not doing this, we’re being greedy. We’re actively killing other living beings we share this planet with because we’re consuming more than our fair share. Those living beings include plants, animals, and people.

For my hardworking friends in the U.S., Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Australia, and other developed places – I know, it’s uncomfortable to hear this. After all, we’ve been working hard to have a better life. Don’t we deserve the things we want? Perhaps we do. But not at the expense of others.

And it’s important to keep in mind that we can be happy, healthy, and fulfilled even after we curb some of our consumption patterns.

The world is overpopulated with humans and we are consuming too much of the Earth’s natural resources and destroying habitats as we do. This demand, says Jonathan Watts, is “pushing mining, farming, and other extractive industries into ever more remote regions.”

“The toll is unbelievable,” added Nathalie Butt of the University of Queensland, who was the lead author and researcher in the study. “Conflict over resources is the issue, but it is corruption that is the problem.

“We need to make ethics and transparency an important part of the supply chain,” she added. “We need to ensure that there is no blood on our hands.”

 

What can we do?

Farmers Market, VA
Farmers market, Christiansburg, Virginia. Photo: C Burgva.

Understanding the supply chain for everything we consume is practically impossible, but we can still endeavor to try. In the future, when blockchain technology is more readily used, things should be easier. But that’s a whole other topic for another time…

Today, we know the metals in our smartphones come from Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

From Brazil, the U.S. imports fossil fuels, iron, steel, coffee, fruits, vegetables, red meat, tobacco, and essential oils.

What we can do is get to know the brands behind the products we buy. Know what they stand for and if they’re transparent about their supply chains. Look for the important certifications, including USDA Organic (or the equivalent in your country), Fair Trade, and Non-GMO Verified. Reach out to manufacturers, like Apple and Samsung, and voice your concerns. And eating an organic, plantbased diet helps to solve environmental, human rights, and animal rights issues.

 

Organizations that Protect Indigenous People and the Environment

Hyacinth Macaw
A hyacinth macaw, a native bird of the Amazon Rainforest. Photo: Pa Van.

In addition to being more informed consumers, we can support NGOs that work to protect Indigenous people’s rights, biodiversity, and the environment. A few are listed below. All of the organizations I’ve listed here get top scores on Charity Navigator.

Amazon Conservation Team (ACT)

Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL)

Rainforest Foundation US

Center for Biological Diversity

The Xerces Society

Ocean Conservancy

Be aware. Be kind. And never give up the fight for human rights and environmental justice.

Want to Keep Things Alive? Talk to Indigenous People.

A member of the Tupiniquim tribe in Manaus, Brazil. Photo: Lisa Hermes.
A member of the Tubi tribe in Manaus, Brazil. Photo: Lisa Hermes.

When Indigenous people are in charge of the land, things don’t die. A new study published in the journal Environmental Science & Policy found that lands managed by Indigenous people have the most biodiversity compared to other parts of the planet, reports Aristos Georgiou in Newsweek.

The study examined land and species data from three of the world’s largest countries: Australia, Brazil and Canada.

Researchers compared the number of species present in:

  • Indigenous-managed lands
  • Protected areas
  • Random locations in the three countries

They analyzed data on the global distribution of amphibians, birds, mammals, and reptiles provided by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

 

Who wins the award for keeping the most species alive?

Members of the Baré People
Members of the Baré people. Cuieiras River, a tributary of the Rio Negro, Amazonia, Brazil. Photo: Daniel Zanini H.

When it comes to the number of species that are alive and present, here’s how things panned out:

  1. Lands managed or controlled by Indigenous people have the highest number of species present.
  2. Protected areas have the second highest number.
  3. Other locations have the lowest.

“The number of species present is equivalent or even slightly higher on Indigenous-managed lands than protected areas,” said Richard Schuster, a co-author of the study.

“Both have higher numbers of species than random locations, indicating that Indigenous-managed lands and protected areas are better at protecting species than random locations, which in itself is a good sign.”

Indigenous people manage or have tenure over roughly 25 percent of the Earth’s land area.

Based on the countries analyzed in the study, in the 75 percent of the Earth’s land area that is not managed by Indigenous people, impacts on biodiversity are severe.

 

One million species are threatened by extinction right now.

We are currently facing a global biological crisis. According to a report published by the United Nations, a mass extinction, sometimes referred to as the Sixth Extinction, is underway that is hundreds of times higher than the average species extinction rate over the past 10 million years.

At least one million species today will become extinct unless serious action is taken to reduce the drivers of biodiversity loss.

Aboriginal Australian Woman
Aboriginal Australian Woman. Photo: Steve Evans.

 

According to the UN, the five key causes of biodiversity loss are:

  1. Changes in land and sea use
  2. Direct exploitation of species
  3. Climate change
  4. Pollution
  5. Non-native species in the environment

“We need to work on protecting nature better,” said Schuster, “but our current protected areas might not be enough to get us there. Other forms of land management could help; one very important one is Indigenous Peoples’ land management practices.”

“Protected areas are a cornerstone of biodiversity conservation globally, but current levels of protection will be insufficient to halt the planetary extinction crisis,” added Peter Arcese, who co-authored the study. “We must manage a larger fraction of the world’s area in ways that protect species and lead to positive outcomes for people and the species they’ve relied on for millennia.”

Inuit family traveling by boat
An Inuit family traveling by boat near Pond Inlet, Nunavut Territory, Canada. Photo: Ansgar Walk.

Bird and Insect Apocalypse: U.S. Is 48 Times More Toxic Due Pesticide Use

Insect Apocalypse Due to U.S. Neonicotinoid Use

According to a new study published in PLOS One, bees, butterflies, and other insect populations are dying in shocking numbers because the United States has increased its use of toxic pesticides by nearly 50x over the past few decades, reports Stephen Leahy in National Geographic. The U.S. agricultural landscape is now 48 times more toxic to honeybees and other insects than it was 25 years ago.

The insect apocalypse that’s happening right now is a result of our use of neonicotinoid pesticides, also referred to as neonicotinoids and neonics, which are made by Bayer-Monsanto.

Neonicotinoids are used on over 140 different agricultural crops in more than 120 countries. They work by attacking the central nervous system of insects, which then causes paralysis and death.

Neonicotinoids are referred to as “systemic insecticides” because the plants they’re used on incorporate the toxins into all of their tissues, including their stems, leaves, pollen, nectar, and sap.

In addition, as I wrote about in my post about ways you can help bees, butterflies, and other insects, neonicotinoids are also found in genetically modified seeds.

But these toxins don’t just stay in the plants. They also contaminate soil, streams, ponds, and wetlands.

Populations of birds that eat insects have also plummeted as a result of these deadly pesticides.

Steve Holmer, a representative at the American Bird Conservancy, said in National Geographic, “It’s stunning. This study reveals the buildup of toxic neonics in the environment, which can explain why insect populations have declined.”

“Every bird needs to eat insects at some point in their life cycle.”

Scientists have been warning us about the insect apocalypse for years.

Monarch Butterfly on Milkweed
Monarch Butterfly on Milkweed. Photo: Derek Ramsey.

A 2014 global study of 452 species of insects found that:

  • 45 percent of all insects have died over the past 40 years.
  • In the U.S. alone, monarch butterfly populations have dropped by 80 to 90 percent in the last 20 years.
  • 81 species of butterflies in Ohio have declined by 33 percent in the last 20 years.

According to the authors of the Ohio study, butterflies can serve as a proxy for how the rest of the world’s 5.5 million species of insects are doing.

Kendra Klein, a senior staff scientist at Friends of the Earth, and a co-author of the study published in PLOS One, compared the current die off of insects to those that occurred from the use of the chemical DDT up until the early 1970s. The science and nature writer Rachel Carson published her famous book Silent Spring about the subject in 1962.

“This is the second Silent Spring,” said Klein in National Geographic. “ Neonics are like a new DDT, except they are a thousand times more toxic to bees than DDT was.”

“The good news is that we don’t need neonics,” continued Klein. “We have four decades of research and evidence that agroecological farming methods can grow our food without decimating pollinators.”

Regenerative Farming Methods Are More Profitable

No-till farming
No-till farming helps with farm biodiversity and prevents soil erosion. Photo: USDA NRCS South Dakota.

According to a study published in PeerJ – the Journal of Life and Environmental Sciences, farms that use neonics have 10 times the damage from insects and are 50 percent less profitable than farms that use regenerative farming methods instead of insecticides.

Both regenerative and agroecological farms use farming methods that include cover crops and no-till farming to maintain and even increase biodiversity and soil vitality.

According to Regeneration International, no-till farming maintains soil structure, including its ability to absorb and infiltrate water, which helps to reduce soil erosion and runoff, thus preventing pollution from entering nearby water sources.

Jonathan G. Lundgren, a co-author of the regenerative farming study, believes that farmers who are dependent on chemicals will likely go out of business.

“It’s painful to see when we have tested, scientifically-sound solutions. Working with nature is a good business decision,” he said.

Was Google’s A-Lister Climate Change Camp a Joke?

Google's Climate Change CampYou may have heard that Google cofounders Larry Page and Sergey Brin hosted their seventh annual “Google Camp” conference last week – a private affair that includes A-list celebrities and other wealthy, high-profile folks.

The setting was the Verdura Resort, located on the southwest coast of Sicily. And the focus of this year’s conference was the topic of the day for a lot of people (but unfortunately not enough people): climate change.

According to Forbes travel writer Jim Dobson, the guests arrived via planes, yachts, and helicopters. While the guest list was secret and invitees were not supposed to post about it on social media, as these things go, word got out.

Here are some the folks who were supposedly there, in no special order, except that Leo should go first since he’s my hero.

  • Leonardo DiCaprio
  • President Obama
  • Prince Harry
  • Larry Page
  • Sergey Brin
  • Eric Schmidt
  • Mark Zuckerberg
  • Barry Diller
  • Diane Von Furstenberg
  • Graeme Hart (the richest man in New Zealand)
  • Udo J. Vetter (a German pharmaceutical executive)
  • Chris Martin
  • David Geffen
  • Bradley Cooper
  • Tom Cruise
  • Katy Perry
  • Priyanka Chopra
  • Orlando Bloom
  • Harry Styles

Planes, Yachts, and Helicopters

There have been a number of writeups about the event, and most of them made fun of the celebrities and the entitled carbon footprint from the whole affair. You know, those CO2 pounds start piling on, with people flying and yachting in, and I’m sure there were some jet skis involved.

My take on this is that, despite my clickbait headline, no, this event was not a joke. What celebrities and wealthy people do and say matters. We’re living in the age of influencers, and these people are the ultimate influencers, love ‘em or hate ‘em. We pay attention to them.

Where do you stand?

It’s the celebrities and business people who don’t take a stand who really worry me. Those who do nothing and say nothing, when they have the megaphones, and horrible things are happening in the world.

As the saying goes, “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.”

Celebrities and business people who don’t stand for anything other than their art or income have always been a little circumspect to me. Art in and of itself is holy, and there’s nothing wrong with earning a buck. But art and money always symbolize something deeper.

So, the guests at Camp Google got a lot of flak in the media for the CO2 emissions they emitted getting to and from the event. Vanity Fair even quoted the local Palermo airport (actually named Aeroporto Falcone Borsellino, but we’ll just call it the Palermo airport for the purposes of this post): The airport reported that the flights to the event released “784,000 kilograms of CO2” into the atmosphere. (That’s about 1.7 million pounds for us Americans.)

Apparently the Palermo airport didn’t explain exactly how they came to that figure, but, just for fun, let’s do some calculating, shall we?

The carbon offset site Carbon Fund puts the price of CO2 offsets at $0.00454 per pound.

Terrapass, another offset site, puts it at $0.0050.

So, going by Vanity Fair’s Palermo airport data on the alleged celebs who may have attended the event and flown in on jets vs. taken their yachts, from God knows which far flung corner of globe, and based on Terrapass’ data (to keep things simple), the cost to offset the CO2 for the flights to Camp Google would be about:

$8,624.84

Or,

Planting 11,500 trees.

Heck, that’s the cost of just one, not-too-expensive designer outfit!

Of course, we didn’t factor in the emissions from the jet skis. According to data from the University of Vermont, two hours of exhaust emissions from a jet ski is equivalent to the emissions created from driving a 1998 car 130,000 miles.

Even if they fly a lot, we still want the smart folks on our side.

Just as people like to see what celebrities and wealthy people are doing, they also like to take them down.

Everyone hates a hypocrite, but I don’t see Camp Google Climate Change as hypocritical. Conferences work. In-person meet and greets work. President Obama, Larry Page, Sergey Brin, Mark Zuckerberg, and Eric Schmidt are smart. We want the smart people on our side.

And people pay attention to celebs. We want the celebs on our side too.

If I had been on the planning committee for that event, aside from ‘Who shall we include on the guest list?’ I would have asked these four simple questions:

  • Can we make the entire menu vegan, organic, and from local Sicilian farms?
  • Is everyone offsetting ALL of their carbon emissions associated with the event, even the limo ride to the helicopter pad and the jet ski rides?
  • Will the number of scientists attending (for free, of course) outnumber the number of non-scientists?
  • Will we come away with an action plan that’s going to get fast, measurable results?

Yes? Ok. Great! Let’s do it!

Wolf Spirit Animal Guide: Legends, Symbols, and Meanings

Arctic Wolf
Arctic Wolf. Photo: Bert de Tilly.

If you feel a strong connection to wolves, you’re not alone. The wolf spirit animal is one that resonates with many of us. After all, human beings have a special connection with canines. How else did dogs become “man’s best friend”? Dogs are capable of creating incredibly powerful bonds with human beings. And wolves, their wild cousins, have a special appeal to us. They were the canines who refused to be tamed, who chose to remain wild and free.

Yet, wolves are very much like we are. They are social and they love their families, especially their pups. In addition, they love to play and they love to snooze in the sun. They love to sing together too. They are loyal and ferociously protective of those they love.

When the wolf is your spirit animal…

Wolf Spirit Animal

If the wolf is your spirit animal, it’s because you connect with their most powerful attributes. According to many Native American traditions, you don’t necessarily choose your spirit animals (and you can have more than one.) Instead, they choose you. Animal spirits choose whom they will reveal themselves to. Identifying your spirit animal or animals is a process of becoming more aware and more spiritually in-tune with your true nature and purpose.

Honor your connection to wolves.

If you feel a strong connection to wolves, I encourage you to explore it. And if a wolf makes their presence known to you, whether it’s in real life, through the media, in art, or in some other setting, pay attention. They are communicating messages that will help you understand your existence better.

While most of us don’t get the opportunity to engage with wolves in the wild, we can still get to know them through the work of artists, filmmakers, biologists, and wolf protection organizations who want to help us understand them better.

Wolves Howling by Heart of the Wilderness

 

Wolf Spirit Animal

Wolf totems and wolf symbolism have existed in diverse cultures around the world throughout history. Your spirit animal serves as a guide, bringing you messages from the Universe to help guide you on your human life path and in your soul’s journey.

Wolf guarding a Tlingit mortuary house, Fort Wrangell, Alaska. Photo: Alexander Badlam.

How do you know if the wolf is your spirit animal?

If you answer yes to many of the questions below (and, not to mention, if you are reading this post!), you should consider the wolf as one of your spirit animals.>

  • Has a wolf somehow made himself or herself known to you, whether it’s in real life or the media, and did they rivet your attention?
  • Were you especially interested in wolves as child?
  • Do you ever dream about a single wolf or a wolf pack?
  • Did certain stories, books, or movies that involved wolves have a strong impact on you and stay with you?
  • Are you close to your extended family and/or do you have a close-knit group of friends who are very important to you and with whom you spend a lot of time on a regular basis?
  • Are comfortable with hierarchy?
  • Do you go by your instincts?
  • Do you feel a deep affinity to wolves and dogs, and do you experience an unadulterated feeling of joy when you see them or are around them?

If you answered yes to these questions, pay attention because you have a deep connection to the wolf power animal!

 

Wolf Traits

We all have energy that we put into the physical world, and wolves are no exception. Wolves have a vibrational frequency as do we. Wolves exist of their own accord. But if you’re especially drawn them, if you dream about them, or have simply always revered them, it’s worth exploring what they mean to you.

Here are some common straits that are associated with wolves. Which ones resonate with you?

Sociability and Loyalty

Wolves love to be with other wolves. They form deep bonds with the other members of their pack and they depend on each other to hunt and survive. Wolves put the pack first, above their own interests. This is why you’ll see wolves fall into line to perform the role within the pack that they’re best suited for. Above all, they want to support the pack.

Quite simply, wolves put family first. Do you put your close relationships first? Are you putting the protection and well-being of your children first? Is everyone in your family, including close friends, protected and well-taken care of?

Teamwork

Wolf Pack in the Snow
The Gibbon Wolf Pack, Yellowstone. Photo: Doug Smith.

Wolves rely on each other to survive. They epitomize the concept of 1+1=3. The legend of the lone wolf is a legend because a wolf alone is extremely rare. It is much more common to see wolves who are part of a cohesive team.

If you are drawn to wolves, you might ask yourself about your own relationships and community. Is it working for you to be out on your own? Or should you be focusing on gathering a team of advisors around you, or being a part of a close knit community of some kind? We are all independent thinkers, but wolves understand the idea of strength in numbers.

Ferocity and Protectiveness

Three Wolves Growling

While naturally friendly and playful, wolves are the epitome of ferocity if they or their loved ones are threatened in any way. They are protective of their pups, their pack, and their territory, which they’ll mark to demonstrate ownership.

The She Wolf Archetype

The term “she-wolf” to describe a protective female is a positive attribute that’s important for many women to embrace. So many women are givers that they often give too much and they don’t protect their boundaries.

Thus, for women, the she-wolf archetype is a very powerful symbol. The she-wolf can remind you protect those you love, stand your ground, and ferociously protect your boundaries, whether they are physical, financial, emotional, sexual, or spiritual. The she-wolf is the antithesis of being too easy, permissive, and passive.

For men who encounter a she-wolf, it’s not the opportunity to “put her in her place.” Instead, try to understand if she needs space, is her boundaries are being respected. Or, it can mean that she needs protection, so she can relax and doesn’t have to keep her hackles up.

The Alpha Male Wolf

Men too can learn from the ferocity and protectiveness of the alpha male wolf. If the wolf spirit is making himself known to you, it could mean that you need to claim your territory, claim your power, and exert more protectiveness of those you hold dear.

Perhaps you are in an environment or relationship that is not allowing you to be the alpha wolf and it’s time that you become the leader of the pack vs. the omega wolf.

Wildness

Wolves are the canines that, unlike dogs, chose not to be domesticated by human beings. Yet, if you know dogs, you know they all carry some wildness in them. Their wolf instincts still course through their veins.

As humans, we used to be wild as well, and that wildness still lurks within us.

If the wolf spirit makes himself or herself known to you, it could be that you are not allowing your true nature to shine through, that you feel too restricted by physical, intellectual, emotional, or spiritual boundaries. It could be that the wilderness is calling you. Perhaps it’s time for you to take some risks, to get out into the wild. Or, it could mean that you need to break free of that which is holding you back.

Freedom

As wild creatures, wolves also represent freedom. If the wolf spirit is resonating with you, it could be time for you to roam and explore – whether it’s physically, mentally, or emotionally. Wolves deserve to have the space to run free, and so do you.

Instincts

In our highly analytical culture, where we hold mathematical prowess in high esteem and often reward logic over emotional decision-making, we too often judge others (and ourselves) by numbers: income, age, height, weight, and other calculations. In doing so, we have devalued something that’s invaluable and which cannot be scored – and that’s our natural instincts. Our instincts have been perfected by time immemorial. They are in our DNA. They are not something to ignore or override.

Like the wolf, follow your gut instincts.

Because wolves remained wild, they didn’t lose their instincts in the way that so many of us humans have. Like your intuition, your instincts defy logic. Your instincts tell you on a first date, or even in the text messages leading up to a first date, that something is off and that you shouldn’t go on that date. Your instincts tell you when a person should not be around your children.

They tell you when a work environment isn’t right for you, even if the salary is attractive and the company has a great reputation. Your instincts also guide you in other ways, such as telling you a place to live is the right place or the wrong place for your next home.

The wolf spirit animal may be guiding you to go with your gut more, to pay attention to those feelings in your spine and body, when you have goosebumps or your hair is standing on end. Instincts matter, that’s why we still have them. We just need to pay more attention to them.

Strength, Grace, and Endurance

Mexican wolf running
Mexican wolf running. Photo: Jim Clark, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Wolves possess an elegant combination of strength and endurance coupled with grace. Wolves are both lean and powerful. They can run at 35 miles per hour when they’re chasing prey, but more often, they lope at 5 miles per hour, which they can do for hours on end. Wolves are suited to their environment, living in harmony with their natural surroundings.

Taking a lesson from the wolf, you can ask yourself if you feel in harmony in your own body and your surrounding environment. If you feel like you lack strength, stamina, and even grace – why is that? What can you do to change your state? If you feel ill at ease in your surroundings, perhaps it’s time to explore other environments.

Like wolves, human beings are designed to move. We function optimally when we have time to move every day. If you find yourself in awe of the grace and strength that wolves possess, consider how you can cultivate those qualities in your own physical being.

Curiosity

Modern day wolves have evolved to become shy because of human beings. But as apex predators, their natural state is to be confident. Like dogs, they are intelligent and possess an innate curiosity. The wolf spirit tells you to not let learned fears and insecurities override your natural curiosity. Don’t get caught up in negative thought patterns and emotions that don’t serve you, because there’s a great big world out there, full of curiosities and wonder.

Here’s a video from BBC Earth that shows the innate curiosity that wolves possess.

Playfulness

While they are fierce predators, wolves are also inherently social and they love to play. While we all have to operate in survival mode at one time or another, the wolf reminds us that no matter how serious life can be, we should always set aside some time to play together.

Here are some wolves playing at the Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center.

 

Wolf Symbolism

While wolves exist of their own accord, they have meaning to us as human beings on multiple levels. They are fellow species with whom we share our existence on this planet, and they have held symbolic meaning to humans all over the world for centuries.

Wolves in Historical Judeo-Christian Culture

St. Francis and the Wolf

In Judeo-Christian stories, wolves were often portrayed in a negative light. The wolf was depicted as a threat to the flocks, just as the Devil was a threat to mankind. While Jesus and God were viewed as shepherds who protected the flocks, the wolf symbolized evil. This negative symbolism imposed on the wolf has most likely played a role in why wolves are so feared and misunderstood by people.

However, one Christian story paints a somewhat positive portrayal of the wolf. In the story St. Francis and the Wolf, the town of Gubbio, Italy is being attacked by a wolf. Saint Francis of Assisi, who is living in Gubbio, goes into the hills and asks the wolf to cease harming the townspeople and their livestock. Tuned into animals, St. Francis learns that the wolf is only doing so out of hunger. Thus, he persuades the townspeople to feed the wolf, and the wolf ceases attacking them.

Direwolves in Game of Thrones

Dire Wolf, Game of Thrones
Dire Wolf. Graphic: Dire Wolf Digital.

If you’re both a wolf lover and a Game of Thrones fan, you probably loved the direwolves. As guardians of the Stark children, the mystical direwolves were both important characters and symbols in the series. I won’t give anything away, but if you watch GOT from beginning to end, you’ll realize just how symbolic the direwolves were.

Wolves in Celtic Mythology

Wolves are portrayed in more respectful terms Celtic mythology. According to historian Ralph Häussler, in Irish and Welsh myths, wolves were seen as helpers and guides. And in one Celtic myth, which is similar to the Roman story about Romulus and Remus, Cormac mac Airt, who became an early king of Ireland, was raised by a she-wolf. And in other Celtic myths, people transformed back and forth from human to wolf. This was most likely one of the precursors to modern day werewolf stories.

Native American Wolf Symbolism

Gray Wolf Howling
Dakota, a grey wolf at the UK Wolf Conservation Trust. Photo: Retron.

Wolves are no more revered than they are in Native American culture. While every Native American tribe has their own unique customs and beliefs, one theme that is common to virtually all of them is the belief in the wolf as an extremely powerful being. Native Americans view the wolf as a creator, a guide, and a brother or sister. Some tribes believe that wolves howl at the moon because they are having a spiritual experience and are singing to the gods.

The “Wolf People”

According the organization Wolf Song Alaska, the Pawnee Indians have such a powerful kinship with wolves that their hand sign for “wolf” is the same as it is for “Pawnee.” Indeed, other local tribes called the Pawnee the “Wolf People.”

Both the Pawnee and the Blackfoot tribes viewed the appearance and disappearance of the star Sirius, which is also referred to as the Wolf Star or the Dog Star, as a sign that wolves were traveling to and from the spirit world. And the Milky Way itself was the path they took, which the tribes referred to as the “Wolf Road.” The Pawnee believe the wolf was the first creature to experience death.

For the Cree tribe, who are from the areas that are now the northern U.S., including North Dakota and Montana, and Canada, the wolves were considered to come to Earth from the spirit world when the Northern lights shined in the sky.

The Northern Lights, Aurora Borealis
The Northern Lights, Aurora Borealis, viewed from the south shore of Lake Superior. Photo: Roman Kahler.

The Quileute and Kwakiutl, coastal tribes from the U.S. and Canadian northwest, believe that human beings descended from wolves. And the wolf is commonly seen on the totem poles carved by northwestern tribes.

The Ojibwe tribes, who were located in the U.S. Midwest and in Ontario, Canada, saw wolves as extended members of their family. They felt such an interconnection with wolves that they believed that anything that happens to wolves would eventually happen to the members of their tribe.

“Animal that Looks Like a Dog but Is a Powerful Spirit”

The Sioux called the wolf “shunk manitu tanka” or “animal that looks like a dog but is a powerful spirit.” And in Cheyenne medicine, warriors would rub their arrows against wolf fur to bring better success in hunting.

In the U.S. Southwest, the Pueblo tribes saw wolves as one of the six directional guardians, and the Zunis carved stone wolf fetishes that they used for protection, healing, and in help with hunting.

Transformation and the Powers of the Universe

In addition to the Celts, the Navajo view wolves as transformational beings. When the Navajo have healing ceremonies, they call upon select higher powers to restore peace and wellness, and the wolf is one of these higher powers.

Another southwestern tribe, the Hopis, dress as wolf kachinas or spiritual beings, and carve wolf kachina dolls, which represent the powers of the Universe.

Hopi Wolf Kachina
Hopi wolf kachina. Photo: Daderot.

 

Wolf Quotes

Too often, wolves get a bad rap in literature. For historical writers from a time when humans had more to fear in the wilderness, it’s somewhat understandable how wolves were viewed negatively. However, in our modern day world, where humans are the main culprits for so much death and destruction on the planet, wolves as metaphors for evil should be put to rest. I found many negative quotes about wolves, which I won’t repeat here. But I will share some of the rare positive ones.

“The caribou feeds the wolf, but it is the wolf who keeps the caribou strong.”
–Anonymous, Keewatin Eskimos

“We have doomed the wolf not for what it is, but for what we deliberately and mistakenly perceive it to be – the mythologized epitome of a savage ruthless killer – which is, in reality, no more than a reflected image of ourselves.”
―Farley Mowat, Never Cry Wolf

“We are never alone. We are all wolves. Howling to the same moon.”
―Atticus Poetry

“Generally speaking, a howling wilderness does not howl. It is the imagination of the traveler that does the howling.”
–Henry David Thoreau

“A howl is as infectious to a wolf as a yawn is to a human.”
―Kevin Ansbro

“Wolves did not keep secrets from one another. They didn’t worry about having enough money or finishing school or winning races. They didn’t interfere with nature and have to figure out what was too much and what was enough. They were nature.”
―C.D. Bell, Chimera

“For the strength of the pack is the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is the pack.”
–Rudyard Kipling

“The wolves knew when it was time to stop looking for what they’d lost, to focus instead on what was yet to come.”
―Jodi Picoult, Lone Wolf

A man might befriend a wolf, even break a wolf, but no man could truly tame a wolf.”
― George R.R. Martin, A Dance with Dragons

“All stories are about wolves. All worth repeating, that is. Anything else is sentimental drivel.”
–Margaret Atwood

 

Wolves in Art and Culture

Stories of wolves have been depicted in literature, folklore, film, and music throughout history. Here’s a sample of some of my favorites and others that are highly recommended.

Books About Wolves

The Call of the Wild by Jack London
The Call of the WildThe Call of the Wild was one of my favorite books growing up, and it’s still one of my all-time favorite stories. This is a story about going through intense challenges to find the true essence of your being.

A Wolf Called Romeo by Nick Jans

A Wolf Called RomeoThis is a true story of a friendly wild wolf named Romeo who played with a photographer’s Labrador in Juneau, Alaska. The photographer, Nick Jans, wrote a book about the experience entitled A Wolf Called Romeo. After six years of playing with local dogs and becoming a beloved figure to Alaskans, in a tragic end to the story, Romeo was shot and killed illegally by a hunter.

Romeo the Wolf and Nick Jans’ Yellow Lab

Women Who Run with the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estés

Women Who Run with the WolvesWhen this book came out, my girlfriends and I had great fun reading passages from it to each other. If you love myths and folk tales, you’ll love Women Who Run with the Wolves. This book is filled with stories that will inspire you to reclaim your creativity, instincts, and passion.

When the Wolves Returned: Restoring Nature’s Balance in Yellowstone by Dorothy Hinshaw Patent, Dan Hartman, and Cassie Hartman

When the Wolves Returned to YellowstoneWhen hunting was unrestricted in Yellowstone National Park, wolf populations plummeted. The loss of this apex predator severely impacted the entire ecosystem. When wildlife biologists better understood the essential role that the wolves played in the environment, efforts were made to restore their populations. When the Wolves Returned: Restoring Nature’s Balance in Yellowstone tells this story.

There’s also a popular documentary, published by Sustainable Human, that beautifully depicts how the return of the wolves brought life back to Yellowstone.

How Wolves Change Rivers

A Wolves Coloring Book by Kim Jones

A Wolf Coloring BookIf you love to color and draw, or have someone special in your life does, this book makes a beautiful gift for yourself or others.

National Geographic’s The Hidden Life of Wolves by Jim and Jamie Dutcher

National Geographic’s The Hidden Life of WolvesAuthors Jim and Jamie Dutcher lived among a pack of wolves at the edge of Idaho’s Sawtooth Wilderness for six years. Published by National Geographic, The Hidden Life of Wolves covers their experience living near this pack, from the complex social structures to the unique personalities of individual wolves.

The authors also address the topic of wolves’ near-extinction and their comeback in some of their natural habitats. In addition, there are stories about wolves, such as those by Native Americans, European fairy tales, and modern-day ranchers.

Wolves: Behavior, Ecology, and Conservation by L. David Mech and Luigi Boitani

Wolves: Behavior, Ecology, and Conservation

In this book, leading wolf experts discuss all aspects of the lives of wolves around the world, including the U.S., Canada, Italy, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Israel, India, and Mongolia. The book goes into depth about wolf behavior, from how they communicate and hunt to their complex social structures. It also covers wolves’ interactions with nonhuman animals, including bears and coyotes.

In addition, Wolves: Behavior, Ecology, and Conservation illustrates how this apex predator, once teetering on the brink of extinction across much of the U.S. and Europe, made a comeback due to legal protections, reintroduction of wolf packs into their native habitats, and evolving attitudes on the part of humans.

 

Movies with Wolves

Wolves – IMAX
If you missed Wolves at an IMAX theatre, you still have a chance to see them close up on Amazon Prime. Filmed in Yellowstone National Park, Idaho, Montana, Alaska, and Quebec, Wolves gives you personal close-ups to these majestic creatures.

Druid Peak
I came upon this movie by chance and decided to watch it, having no idea what it was about. All I knew is that Andrew Wilson, brother of Owen and Luke, was in it. It’s a thoughtful and touching film about how an at-risk young man finds himself when he goes to live with his dad, a park ranger, in Wyoming. The film takes place during the wolf reintroduction program to Yellowstone National Park.

 

Wolf T-Shirts

As I was writing this post, I took a break to meet my dad, Eddie, and my stepmom, D., who are visiting from Houston, for lunch. As we came out of the restaurant, a man was standing right in front of me wearing, I am not kidding, a wolf t-shirt. The Universe always works in wonderful ways. To show the world that you’re a wolf person too, here are some cool wolf t-shirts made with organic cotton and recycled materials.

Sirem Wild Organic Cotton and Recycled Plastic Wolf T-Shirt
Organic Cotton and Recycled Plastic Bottles Wolf T-ShirtBuy on Etsy >>

Organic Cotton Wolf Howling T-Shirt

Organic Cotton Wolf Howling T-ShirtBuy on Etsy >>

Organic Cotton Women’s Wolf T-Shirt

Organic Cotton Women's T-Shirt

Buy on Etsy >>

 

Are Wolves Endangered?

While wolves have made a comeback in some areas thanks to decades of intense conservation efforts, like every other apex predator on the planet (besides humans), they still face grave threats due to habitat loss. In the case of gray wolves in the U.S., today they occupy only 20 percent of their historic range, according to National Geographic.

If you feel a strong kinship with wolves, please help protect them. Below are some resources to help you do so.

Organizations that Protect Wolves

Defenders of Wildlife

World Wildlife Foundation

Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center

International Wolf Center

New York Wolf Conservation Center

California Wolf Center

Ethiopian Wolf Conservation Program

UK Wolf Conservation Trust

NRDC

May the wolf spirit protect and guide you.

Wolf Paw Print

Arctic Wolf Howling
Arctic Wolf Howling in Wildpark Alte Fasanerie.

20 Vegan Messenger Bags and Laptop Bags: Faux Leather, Hemp, Recycled, and More

The Best Laptop Messenger Bags

Why settle for a boring leather briefcase or messenger bag when you can have one that’s unique, colorful, eco-friendly, and cruelty-free? Here are the best laptop messenger bags on the market! What makes them so special? They’re well-made, they’re total standouts, and they’re made with cutting edge materials, like vegan faux leather, hemp, recycled plastic, and more. After all, you should have a messenger bag that’s as unique and cool as you are.

 

Faux Leather and Vegan Laptop Messenger Bags

1. MATT & NAT Vegan Faux Leather Briefcases

 MATT & NAT Vegan Faux Leather BriefcaseMATT & NAT’s chic line of shoes and accessories have been 100% vegan since the company was founded in 1995. Their name is derived from the words “materials” and “nature.” And these concepts are interwoven in every product they create, from their vegan briefcases to their handbags, shoes, and other accessories. MATT & NAT say their mission it to help unveil the “humanity, creativity, and positivity found in all of us.”

MATT & NAT infuses eco-friendly principles into their designs by using natural, plantbased, and recycled materials.

This sleek vegan briefcase has an adjustable shoulder strap and 4.5” handles. It measure 16” x 11” x 5”.

Available colors: black, brown, light blue, red, pink, pale beige, and more

Price: ~$140.00 – $220.00

Buy Now on Matt & Nat

 

2. Red Maus Distressed Faux Leather Messenger Bag

Red Maus Distressed Faux Leather Messenger Bag

Red Maus designs a line of minimalist, vegan purses, messenger bags, and others with distressed faux leather.

This vegan messenger bag has an interior zipper to keep it securely closed, as well as an exterior zipper pocket. It also features a magnetic clasp closure and an adjustable strap.

This messenger bag measures 13” tall x 12” wide x 3.5” deep and it will fit a 14″ laptop.

And don’t let the girl model fool you. This bag makes for the perfect man bag too!

Each bag is made to order and you can select from a variety of colors, including burgundy, red, beige, blue, green, purple, black, dark brown, brown, and golden yellow.

Red Maus Distressed Faux Leather Color Chart

Price: ~$79.00

Buy on Etsy

 

3. Canopy Verde Eco and Vegan Messenger Laptop Bag

Canopy Verde Eco and Vegan Messenger Laptop Bag

Known for their stylish vegan handbags, Canopy Verde also makes this special tote with GOTS certified organic cotton and metallic faux leather trim. This bag has a front zippered pocket, wood zip pullers, and wooden “feet” on the bottom to protect the material.

Canopy Verde Eco and Vegan Messenger Laptop Bag with Girl

It measures 10” tall by 14” wide by 5” deep, making it the perfect size for your laptop, tablet, and any other essentials. It has an adjustable shoulder strap and a 5” handle.

Price: ~$159.00

Buy Now on Amazon

 

Cork Laptop Messenger Bags

4. Corkor Cork Briefcases

Corkor Cork Briefcase in Black

Corkor is a fashion forward, eco-conscious brand that creates a range of stylish vegan accessories from all-natural and sustainable cork. The Corkor team are advocates for animals and protecting the environment, and they’re doing their part to help the fashion world become more socially conscious.

These sleek cork briefcases have adjustable, removable straps. And they come with a two-year warranty.

Two sizes are available: 16.9” x 11.8” x 2.75” and 16.1” x 11.4” x 3.9”.

Corkor Cork Briefcases

Available colors: black and brown

Price: ~$159.50 – $195.00

Buy Now on Amazon

 

5. Corkor Cork Messenger Tote

Corkor Cork Messenger Tote

This cute cork tote is perfect for holding your tablet or laptop, plus it has multiple interior pockets for other essentials. It measures 16.9” x 10.6” x 5.9” and it has metal feet that protect the cork leather when you set it down.

Available colors: black, dark brown, red wine, light brown, and natural

Price: ~$144.50

Buy Now on Amazon

 

Hemp Messenger and Laptop Bags

6. Hemp Laptop Messenger Bag with the Eyes of Buddha

Hemp Laptop Messenger Bag with the Eyes of BuddhaHemp, the magical sustainable fiber that’s perfect for many things, including shoes, hats, and clothing. It’s also a great material for messenger bags.

UK Pasal imports eco-friendly hemp accessories that are handmade in Nepal. This Nepalese messenger bag is made with 80% hemp and 20% cotton fabric, and it has the eyes of the Buddha embroidered on the outside flap.

You can wear this bag over your shoulder or across your body with its adjustable strap. The bag is padded, which will keep your laptop and other items safe.

It measures 15.7” x 13” x 3.9”.

Price: ~$41.07

Buy on Etsy

 

7. Hemp Laptop Bag in Black or Natural Tan

Hemp Laptop Bag in Black or Natural Tan

Another great bag, this briefcase is made from 80% hemp and 20% cotton. It comes with an adjustable shoulder strap or can be carried with the short handles. It’s also padded for added protection for your computer and other valuables.

It measures 16.5” x 13” x 4.7”.

Available colors: black and natural

Price: ~$51.34

Buy on Etsy

 

8. House of Marley Eco-Friendly Messenger Bag

House of Marley Eco-Friendly Messenger Bag A truly functional laptop messenger bag, this design by House of Marley features multiple internal pockets for your laptop, iPad, and other items. And there are convenient external side pockets for your phone, wallet, or other items. It has an adjustable shoulder strap and comfortable top handle.

A truly eco-friendly creation, this bag is made with Marley’s exclusive REWIND fabric, which is a blend of reclaimed hemp, organic cotton, and fibers made from recycled PET plastic water bottles.

It measures 15.7” x 13.8” x 4”.

Price: ~$109.99

Buy Now on Amazon

 

9. Dime Bags Hemp Messenger Bags

Dime Bags Hemp Messenger BagsDime Bags makes unique bags with pure, sustainable hemp. This cute messenger bag has internal and outside pockets to keep everything organized and easy to find. There’s also a soft, padded adjustable shoulder strap. (Shhhh, it also has a secret internal pocket to hold secret things…)

It measures 11” x 3.5” x 10”.

Available colors: gray-black, brown, turquoise, and white

Price: ~$60.50

Buy Now on Amazon

 

10. Zen Canyon Hemp Shoulder Bag

Zen Canyon Hemp Shoulder Bag

Epitomizing boho eco chic, this hemp messenger bag is handmade in Nepal. It features a purple embroidered eternity knot and sweet flowers and vines on the front flap. There’s also a zipper enclosure. In addition to the large main compartment, there’s a hidden zipper pocket to hold your valuables. And it has an extra-long, adjustable strap.

It measures: 12″ x 13″ x 2”.

Price: ~$29.95

Buy Now on Amazon

 

Eco-Friendly Jute Messenger Bags

11. Eco-Friendly Jute Messenger and Record Bag

Eco-Friendly Jute Messenger and Record Bag

This minimalist bag is made with all natural, eco-friendly jute. It’s designed to hold vinyl records, so it makes the perfect gift for a DJ or vintage vinyl collector. Or, it’s a great option for an eco-conscious and vegan laptop or messenger bag.

The shoulder strap can be removed and there are sturdy handles for easy carrying. There are two lined compartments, and magnetic buttons hold the top flap closed.

Hey Jute is a socially conscious accessories brand that contributes a portion of their sales to charities that support underprivileged kids and human rights.

I featured some of Hey Jute’s bags in my post about vegan handbags.

This bag measures: 12.5” x 12.5” x 3”.

Price: ~$76.90

Buy on Etsy

 

12. Black and Tan Natural Jute Messenger Tote

Black and Tan Natural Jute Messenger Tote

Another great bag from Hey Jute, this style can be used as a computer bag, a mommy bag, or a carry-on bag for travel. It’s made with all natural, eco-friendly jute. It features a large double zipper, plus magnetic closures on the front pockets.

In addition, there are four outside pockets and a removable, adjustable shoulder strap, plus easy-grip handles.

It measures: 11″ x 16″ x 5″ and the handles are 5”.

Price: ~$76.90

Buy on Etsy

 

Recycled and Upcycled Messenger and Laptop Bags

13. Torrain Recycled Rice Bag Shoulder Bags

Torrain Recycled Rice Bag Messenger Bags

 

If you love color, you have to check out Torrain Recycled Bags’ vibrant messenger bags. These cool bags are made with upcycled rice and feed bags, and every one is one-of-a-kind.

Each messenger bag has an adjustable crossbody strap and an overflap that has a snap closure. Plus, there’s a zipper closure to keep your valuables safe. There are interior pockets hold your valuables and the linings are made with recycled plastic bottles.

Torrain Recycled Rice Bag Shoulder Bags

These bags measures 12.5″ tall x 15.5″ wide x 2.5″ deep.

Price: ~$42.00

Buy on Etsy

 

14. Upcycling by Milo Vintage Prints Laptop Bag

Upcycling by Milo Vintage Prints Laptop BagUpcycling by Milo makes vibrant accessories from an array of reclaimed materials, including vinyl records, billboards, candy wrappers, and more. You can see more of their one-of-a-kind designs in my posts on eco-friendly laptop cases and iPad mini covers.

This laptop briefcase is made with vintage advertisements, which are covered with a clear plastic coating to preserve the images and protect the bag’s contents from the elements. Soft interior padding will protect your laptop from bumps and scratches. This briefcase has convenient carry handles, plus an adjustable shoulder strap.

The padded compartment measures 14.2″ x 10.2″ and the exterior measures 14.8″ wide x 11.3″ tall x 2.5″ deep. You’ll be able to fit a 15” laptop or smaller into this briefcase.

Price: ~$120.00

Buy Now on Amazon

 

15. Upcycling by Milo Recycled Candy Wrappers Briefcase

Upcycled Candy Wrapper Laptop Case by Upcycling by Milo

Another stand-out design from Upcycling by Milo, this laptop briefcase is made with colorful upcycled candy wrappers. It also has a padded interior to protect your computer and other items.

This laptop briefcase will fit a 15” laptop or smaller. The padded compartment measures 14.2″ x 10.2″ and the exterior measures 14.8″ wide x 11.3″ tall x 2.5″ deep.

Price: ~$120.00

Buy Now on Amazon

 

16. Sea Bags Upcycled Sail Cloth Tote

Sea Bags Upcycled Sail Cloth Tote

From their workshop in Portland, Maine, Sea Bags hand makes one-of-a-kind bags from upcycled sail cloth. Be sure to visit their Amazon store to see more creations.

This bag measures 14″ tall x 18” wide x 6″ deep.

Price: ~$190.00

Buy Now on Amazon

 

17. Alchemy Goods Recycled Tires Laptop Messenger Bag

Alchemy Goods Recycled Tires Laptop Messenger Bag

For a super durable and water-resistant laptop messenger bag, check out this design from Alchemy’s Goods. The exterior is made with recycled bicycle inner tubes. It’s got a padded shoulder strap, plus a loop for a bicycle light and a reflective strip, making it perfect for evening rides. There’s also a convenient grab-handle and a zippered outside pocket.

The cool messenger bag is padded and will safely carry a 15″ laptop. There are also interior organizational pockets, including one with a zipper.

It measures 20″ by 14″ by 6″.

Price: ~$141.11

Buy Now on Amazon

 

18. Alchemy Goods Haversack Messenger Bag

Alchemy Goods Recycled Tires Messenger Bag with Purple TrimIf you want a messenger bag with a narrower profile, this design by Alchemy Goods fits the bill. It’s also super durable and water resistant, making it perfect for rainy days. The shoulder strap is made with an upcycled seatbelt. This bag features an outside zipper pocket as well as interior pockets to hold your valuables.

It measures: 10” x 6” x 11”.

Price: ~$104.00

Buy Now on Amazon

 

19. Haiku Recycled Plastic Bottles Messenger Bag

Haiku Recycled Plastic Bottles Messenger Bag

Haiku makes eco-friendly bags with 100% recycled plastic bottles. This messenger bags keeps over 17 plastic bottles from the entering the landfill or polluting the ocean.

Super functional, it will work as a classic crossbody messenger bag or it can be converted into a backpack. There are two outside pockets for your reusable water bottle and other items, plus an interior pocket that will hold a tablet computer.

Haiku Recycled Plastic Bottles Convertible Messenger BagThis bag measures 10″ tall x 9.5″ wide.

Available colors: red, black, black with white detail, blue, teal, and gray

Price: ~$64.99

Buy Now on Amazon

 

20. Vaho Up Recycled Billboards Crossbody Bags

Vaho Up Recycled Billboards Crossbody Bags

Hailing from Darmstadt, Germany, Vaho Up creates colorful, one-of-a-kind bags using upcycled vinyl advertising billboards. One of the added benefits of this material is that these bags are highly water-resistant.

Each recycled messenger bag has an adjustable, removable strap.

Vaho Up Recycled Billboards Crossbody Bags

This bag measures 9.8” tall x 13” wide x 3” deep. Be sure to visit Vaho Up’s Etsy store to see more of their cool designs.

Price: ~$76.0 – $93.00

Buy on Etsy

What are the top things individuals are doing to fight climate change?

Climate Change Action Infographic
When UniGuide ran its Summer Sweepstakes Giveaway this month, I included a one-question survey that participants had the option to answer as an additional entry for a chance to win a gift card. While this is not a formal market research study, enough people answered the question that I believe the results are significant. In all, 582 individuals answered the survey question. (The app I used to run the sweepstakes takes a number of measures to make sure that people don’t game the system, including verifying IP address, and to ensure that all respondents are unique.)

While UniGuide visitors and followers on social media most likely skew towards being environmentally conscious, the survey was also promoted to general news outlets. In addition, participants were able to share the sweepstakes entry and survey with people in their own personal networks.

Here’s a breakdown of the participants:

Respondents: 582
Gender:

  • Women: ~75%
  • Men: ~25%

Geography:

  • U.S. – 80%
  • Canada – 12%

The remaining participants were from:

  • Australia
  • Belgium
  • Germany
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • New Zealand
  • Spain
  • United Kingdom

Those who participated in the survey were able to select multiple options for the actions they were taking to personally fight climate change.

Here are the actions the respondents say they are currently doing to help fight climate change and the percent of those who say they’re taking that specific action:

  • Saving energy and boosting energy efficiency around my home – 22%
  • Driving less – 16%
  • Buying used clothes and/or eco-friendly clothing (not buying fast fashion) – 15%
  • Planting trees – 12%
  • Flying less – 8%
  • Eating a plantbased diet – 6%
  • Something else not listed here – 6%
  • Donating to environmental organizations – 5%
  • Donating to political groups or candidates who are pro-environment – 4%
  • Contributing to organizations that offset my carbon emissions – 3%
  • Not sure what to do – 2%
  • Not doing anything right now – 1%

Saving energy at home was the action that more survey respondents are doing than any other to fight climate change. This makes sense because there’s a monetary incentive with this action, on top of the benefit of helping to fight climate change.

Putting a Price on Carbon

In my personal opinion, one of the best ways that we can fight climate change is to put a real cost on carbon emissions. Frankly, we’ve been letting too many people dump too much garbage into the atmosphere without paying the price to do so. It’s really not that complicated. If you pay to have your garbage, recycling, and compost taken away every week, your neighbor should too (whether they’re an individual, a corporation, or a country.) Going forward, we need to put an accurate price on carbon emissions similar to the way we put a value on global currencies.

Used and Eco-Friendly Clothing

One response that was in the top three most common things people are doing, which surprised me, was buying used or eco-friendly clothes – No. 3 on the list. While that’s definitely in line with the types of visitors who would come to UniGuide, I was still surprised that that action was higher on the list than, say, eating a vegan diet.

Shouldn’t there be more vegans by now?

There’s a direct personal benefit from both saving energy (and therefore money) and buying clothes but eating a plantbased diet has so many personal health benefits. I had assumed more participants who would be vegan. But that survey result may be due to how the question was worded. Many people who are eating a “plantbased diet” are not fully vegan. I did think of using “eating a plantbased diet” as an option vs. “vegan,” but I thought “plantbased” wouldn’t really get to the heart of a concrete action to fight climate change. Plantbased is good, but 100% vegan is even better.

It’s estimated that from 2-5 percent of people in the U.S. are fully vegan, so 6 percent of survey respondents saying they’re eating vegan to help fight climate change makes sense. (Sigh, I just wish it was more…)

Let’s Do More

The most heartening aspect of the survey was that only 1 percent of those who responded said they’re doing nothing. While there are plenty of discussions about the optimal way to fight climate change, the ramifications of it – which are happening as we speak – are so dire, that we need to fire on all cylinders (sorry to use a fossil fuel analogy) to fight it. And while our motivations for doing a lot of things are driven by self-interest (including myself here), I do wholeheartedly believe that people want to make a difference to help the greater good. It’s just a matter of all of us helping each other to do better.

23 Recycled Sunglasses: The Best Eco-Friendly Brands

Men's and Women's Recycled Sunglasses

What’s better than a great looking pair of sunglasses? Two words: recycled sunglasses. I was super excited to find so many socially conscious companies making stylish eco-friendly sunglasses out of recycled materials, as well as bioplastic materials like cellulose acetate. When you learn about the inspiration behind some of these sustainable sunglasses brands, plus the way so many give back by supporting charitable causes, I think you’ll feel as psyched as I did when you read about them.

As you’re probably already aware, we’re experiencing a global plastic waste crisis. So, recycling plastic into other useful products helps to keep it out of our oceans and landfills – at least for a bit longer. It turns out that sunglasses are an ideal use for recycled materials, as they require only small pieces. As a result, product designers can create cool sunglasses from small material scraps. Consequently, we’re starting to see some innovative sunglasses made with recycled and upcycled materials. The groundbreaking companies showcased here are making recycled sunglasses out of recycled plastic waste from the ocean, as well as a host of other reclaimed materials, including skateboard decks, aluminum, wood flooring, vinyl records, and more.

We humans buy a lot of sunglasses.

People all over the world wear sunglasses, and let’s admit it – many of us own more than one pair. In 2019, it’s expected that Americans alone will buy over 200 million pairs of sunglasses. (Statista.) When you combine this with the number purchased by people from other countries, you can see there’s a massive market for this accessory. After your cell phone charger, sunscreen, razor, and toothbrush – sunglasses are the most common item that you’ll forget to pack when leaving for vacation. So, what do you do? You buy a new pair.

Thankfully, recycled sunglasses and those made with other eco-friendly materials, like wood, bamboo, and bioplastic, are hitting the beaches and streets around the world. And they can’t get here fastest enough! In addition to recycled sunglasses, if you’d like to see cool shades made from other eco-friendly materials, check out my post on wood frame and bamboo sunglasses.

 

Recycled Fishing Net Sunglasses

1. Waterhaul Recycled Fishing Net Sunglasses

Waterhaul Recycled Fishing Net SunglassesStarted by marine biologist and surfer Harry Dennis, Waterhaul makes their cool sunglasses from 100% recycled fishing nets, which they intercept from the ocean by literally diving for the nets or getting them from fishermen.

Waterhaul’s recycled sunglasses have polarized lenses and three-barrel hinges, plus they come with a lifetime guarantee. And, if you have want prescription lenses, you can get them upon request. Waterhaul takes things a step further by shipping their sunglasses in recycled wood-pulp packaging. In fact, the company’s entire supply chain is free of single-use plastic.

Here’s a video from Waterhaul that describes their mission and how they make their shades:

Price: $84.50

Buy Now on Waterhaul

 

2. Bureo Recycled Fishing Net Sunglasses

Bureo Recycled Fishing Net Sunglasses

Bureo is another eco-conscious company that collects old fishing nets that are polluting the ocean, breaks them down into tiny pellets, and recycles them into a recycled plastic that makes some very cool shades.

Bureo’s founders created a recycling program in Chile dubbed “Net Positiva,” which provides collection points where fishermen and other locals can drop off discarded fishing nets that are polluting the ocean and harming marine life. According to Bureo, fishing nets make up 10% of the plastic pollution in the ocean. The Net Positiva program gets the fishing nets out of the sea, while providing financial incentives to local communities to help with collection.

Bureo Recycled Fishing Net Sunglasses

Bureo also makes other recycled products, like skateboards and Frisbees. I’m looking forward to seeing what they’ll develop next.

Here’s a video from Bureo about the Net Positiva program:

Price: $199.00

Buy Now on Patagonia

 

3. 100% Compostable, Biodegradable Frame Sunglasses by Pela

Biodegradable and Compostable Sunglasses by PelaPela, maker of the biodegradable and compostable phone cases, has come out with eco-friendly sunglasses that have biodegradable, bioplastic frames that are 100% compostable. While the lenses themselves are not compostable, these sunglasses are almost zero waste because you can return them back to Pela, who will clean them and give them to someone in need, turn them into new products, or compost them with their Pela 360 program.

The frames are made with Pela’s innovative bioplastic, which is free of pthalates and bisphenol A (BPA).

Here’s a video from Pela about their inspiration and mission:

Price: ~$94.95

Buy now at Pela

 

 

4. Blue Planet Eyewear Recycled Sunglasses

Recycled Sunglasses by Blue Planet Eyewear

Blue Planet says their goals are straightforward: “to help protect the planet, change lives, and have fun.” Founded in Santa Barbara, California, the company has been hard at work since 2009 bringing socially responsible and eco-friendly eyewear to people all over the world. They don’t just stick to the basics, either. They strive to satisfy all kinds of customers, with eyewear made from a range of sustainable materials, including recycled plastic, recycled metal, wood, bamboo, and cork.

Women's Recycled Sunglasses by Blue Planet EyewearWith every pair of glasses they sell, Blue Planet donates a pair to someone in need via their global sight giving partners. To date, they’ve helped over 400,000 visually impaired people around the world.

Here’s Lisa Lawenda, a VP at Blue Planet, and Matt Weinstein, the company’s brand manager, talking about Blue Planet’s Visualize Change program, which helps restore sight for people around the world.:

Blue Planet offers a variety of lenses as well. They provide standard polarized lenses and lenses with maximum UV protection for extra-sensitive eyes. In addition to their super cool sunglasses, they also make reading glasses.

Price: $34.95 – $54.95

Buy Now on Amazon

 

5. Norton Point Recycled Ocean Plastic Sunglasses

Recycled Plastic Sunglasses by Norton Point

Unwilling to sit back and let the eight million metric tons of plastic pollution destroy our oceans, the founders of Norton Point have made it their mission to clean up the mess and recycle ocean plastic into high-quality, durable sunglasses. Their sunglasses are all made with recycled ocean plastic and plant-based materials. Based in Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts, Norton Point donates 5% of their net profits to global ocean clean-up, education, and remediation practices.

Plastic Sunglasses by Norton Point

Here’s a video featuring Shaun Frankson, co-founder of ThePlasticBank, an organization that helps monetize plastic waste by exchanging it for currency to help people in impoverished places. Shaun talks about how Norton Point is repurposing plastic from by ThePlasticBank into their eco-friendly shades.

Norton Point offers a large selection of men’s and women’s sunglasses, all of which come standard with solid stainless steel hinges. Their lenses feature 100% UVA and UVB protection and an anti-reflective coating, so you’ll be ready for the most intensely sunny days.

Price: $89.00 – $129.00

Buy Now on Amazon

 

6. Sustainable Sunglasses by Solo Eyewear

Socially Conscious, 100% Sustainable Sunglasses by Solo Eyewear

Solo Eyewear isn’t just a brand; it’s a remarkable project. Solo is devoted to service and giving back: With every pair of sunglasses they sell, they help restore the vision of a person in need, whether it’s an elderly person in an underdeveloped nation thousands of miles away or an impoverished child closer to home.

Eco-Friendly Sunglasses by Solo EyewearSolo Eyewear’s sunglasses are made with 100% sustainable materials, including recycled plastic and repurposed bamboo, plus they’re lightweight and durable. Their lenses are UV protected and prescription-friendly. When it comes to selection, Solo offers a variety of shapes and colors. If you want to look great and be a part of something greater, you can’t go wrong with Solo Eyewear.

Price: $59.00 – $95.00

Buy Now on Amazon

 

7. Proof Recycled Metal Aviator Sunglasses

Recycled Metal Sunglasses by Proof Eyewear

A pioneer in the sustainable eyewear industry, Boise, Idaho-based Proof Eyewear has been making eco-friendly sunglasses since 2010. In addition to using sustainable materials in their products, Proof donates to charitable organization around the world. Through their Do Good Program, they donate 12% of their annual profits to these causes.

Recycled Metal Sunglasses by Proof Eyewear

Proof integrates sustainable materials like recycled aluminum, FSC-certified wood, and recycled skateboard decks into their designs. And, they use high-quality lenses. All of their lenses are UVA and UVB protected. If you need prescription lenses, you can easily switch out their standard lenses for your own.

Here’s a video from Proof featuring their aviators with recycled aluminum frames:

Price: $129.95

Buy Now on Amazon

 

8. Ozeano 100% Recycled Plastic Sunglasses

100% Recycled Plastic Sunglasses by Ozeano

Australia-based Ozeano is another innovative eyewear company that’s driven by a true sense of purpose. While traveling abroad, founder Mark Cason was walking on Serendipity Beach in Sihanoukville, Cambodia.

Mark was shocked by the volume of plastic pollution and other litter that was being washed up on the beach in what would otherwise be a paradise on Earth. He involuntarily started picking up some of the trash, when a local man named Heng joined him.

Though Heng suffered badly from cataracts, an eye disease that causes blindness but which is easily treatable with proper medical care, he still wanted to help. From this meeting, Ozeano was born – an eco-conscious, social enterprise that makes hip sunglasses out of 100% recycled plastic. Ozeano also donates 10% of revenue to the Fred Hollows Foundation, a nonprofit that helps restore vision for people in need.

Ozeano 100% Recycled Plastic SunglassesIn addition to being made with 100% recycled materials, Ozeano’s shades have premium UV400 polarized lenses. They also come in a 100% recycled bamboo protective case with a 100% organic cotton pouch. Plus, Ozeano ensures that all shipments are carbon-neutral.

Ozeano offers a special discount for UniGuide visitors: Apply the promo code “UniGuide” at checkout and you’ll get an extra 5% off your purchase price.

Price: ~$120.00

 

9. Polarized Sunglasses with Recycled Skateboard Frames by Dex Shades

Recycled Skateboard Sunglasses by Dex Shades

Dex Shades is another brand that’s recycling used skateboard decks and converting them into high quality shades. Each pair of their eco-friendly skateboard sunglasses is subtly colorful and unique. Plus, they’re comfortable to wear and super lightweight, weighing less than 1 oz. Dex Shades have polarized lenses and spring-fit hinges for laid back comfort. And as if you need more persuading beyond how cool these sunglasses are, Dex Shades plants a tree for every product they sell.

Recycled Skateboard Sunglasses by Dex Shades - Back View

Price: $78.00

Buy Now on Amazon

 

10. Skateboard Sunglasses by 7plis

Luxury Recycled Skateboard Sunglasses by 7plis

If there’s a luxury brand of skateboard sunglasses, it has to be 7plis. They have a high price point, but these recycled shades have a sleek look that’s all their own. 7plis mixes chic design with a cool, distressed look that conveys the history of the materials. You can imagine some gnarly stunts were done on the skateboards from which these sunglasses originated. The lenses all offer 100% UV protection.

Colorful Recycled Skateboard Sunglasses by 7plis Wayfarers

Price: $575.95

Buy on Etsy

 

11. Sunglasses Made from Recycled Skateboards by Amoloma
Sunglasses Made from Recycled Skateboards by Amoloma

Amoloma is another eco-conscious brand that makes cool shades out of recycled and Earth-friendly materials, including used skateboards. They offer a range of color combinations, including red, green, black, brown, and blue. All of their lenses are polarized for optimal UV protection.

Price: $69.00 – $119.00

Buy Now on Amazon

 

12. Skateboard Sunglasses by Sk8rings

Orange Cat Eye Sunglasses Made with Recycled Skateboards

Sk8rings is another designer that creates unique, colorful sunglasses made with upcycled skateboards. Based in Serbia, they also make a range of other recycled items, including rings, guitars, guitar knobs, and more. The lenses on their recycled sunglasses are polarized and offer 100% UV protection.

Price: $80.39

Buy on Etsy

 

13. Upcycled Vinyl Records Eyewear by Spexwax

If you’re a music fan, these cool sunglasses made with upcycled vinyl records are a must-have. San Diego-based Spexwax reclaims unplayable vinyl records and turns them into cutting edge eyewear that epitomizes urban cool. They call their sunglasses “upcycled art for your face.” I wholeheartedly agree.

Recycled Vinyl Records Sunglasses by Spexwax

 

14. Recycled Records Sunglasses by Vinylize

Recycled Records Sunglasses by Vinylize

Base in Budapest, Vinylize also hand makes great looking eyewear from upcycled vinyl records.

Price: $495.00

 

15. Woodzee Sunglasses in Reclaimed Wood

Recycled Wood Sunglasses by Woodzee

Woodzee handcrafts their recycled wood sunglasses from reclaimed oak, madrone, and maple hardwood flooring. Each pair is unique. Their shades are comfortable and lightweight, weighing less than 1.5 oz. And their lenses are polarized with 100% UV400 protection.

Recycled Wood Sunglasses by Woodzee with Black Frames

Here’s a video from Woodzee:

Price: $54.99 – $74.99

Buy Now on Amazon

 

16. Recycled Wine Cork Sunglasses by Moon Shades

Recycled Wine Cork Sunglasses

For all of you wine lovers (yeah, I’m sure there are a few of you out there :o), check out these truly unique sunglasses make with recycled wine corks. Moon Shades actually uses the byproducts from the wine cork manufacturing process. This means these sunglasses are made with reclaimed, natural sustainable materials. It’s hard to get better than that on the eco-friendly scale! The lenses on these eco-conscious shades are polarized. And, as you can see in the photo, these sunglasses float, plus that have comfortable flexibly arms. Recycled Wine Cork Sunglasses Round Frames

Price: $111.21

Buy on Etsy

 

17. Upcycled African Fabric Sunglasses by Zanziba Ri

Unique African Fabric Sunglasses by Zanziba Ri

In a world of wayfarers and aviators, there is Zanziba Ri, offering sunglasses that are unlike any I have ever seen before. They incorporate upcycled African fabrics into their unique designs, creating beautiful sunglasses that will undoubtedly have people stopping you in the street and asking, “Where did you get those shades?” Not stopping at beautiful design, the company donates 10% of proceeds to educational programs in Tanzania.

Upcycled African Fabric Sunglasses by Zanziba Ri with Blue Lenses

Price: $75.00

Buy on Etsy

 

Biodegradable Sunglasses

18. Cellulose Acetate Sunglasses by Zeal Optics

Cellulose Acetate Sunglasses by Zeal Optics

In addition to recycled plastic, today you can find some great styles of sunglasses that are made with cellulose acetate, which is a synthetic compound that is derived from plant cellulose. Cellulose is a readily biodegradable substance by organisms that use cellulose enzymes. So, cellulose acetate, depending on how it’s made and on environmental conditions, is more easily biodegradable than traditional petrol-plastic.

Zeal Optics makes a variety of cool bioplastic shades with cellulose acetate frames.

Price: ~$49.00 – $150.00

Buy Now on Amazon

 

19. Eco Sunglasses by Dzim Eco Eyewear

Biodegradable Sunglasses by Dzim Eco Eyewear

Dzim Eco Eyewear makes cool sunglasses in a wide variety of styles, from wayfarers to aviators, mirrored lenses, and more, and the bioplastic frames 100% biodegradable and made with renewable materials. They have polarized, impact- and scratch-resistant frames. In addition, Dzim ships their eco sunglasses in a cotton cleaning back and minimalist 70% recycled and recyclable packaging.

Price: ~$34.00 – $122.00

Buy Now on Amazon

 

20. Sustainable, Recycled Sunglasses by Karün

Recycled Sunglasses by Karun

Karün is a sustainable eyewear company based in Sweden that makes sunglasses with recycled fishing nets, recycled carbon fiber, recycled denim scraps, and other Earth-friendly materials. The company credits nature as their best “inventor and teacher.” With strong, eco-conscious values, the Karün team is focused on creating “a movement of like-minded people that trust that we can change the way we interact with our planet. We want to prove that it is possible to make the best quality products, but in a completely different way.”

Sustainable Sunglasses by KarunPrice: €99.00 – €215.00

 

21. Recycled Acetate Sunglasses by Dick Moby

Recycled Acetate Sunglasses by Dick Moby

Dick Moby’s sunglasses frames are made with 97% recycled acetate. Based in the Netherlands, the company puts a special emphasis on reducing plastic waste by continually recycling it. They offer a wide variety of frames shapes and colors.

Price: €185.00

 

22. Upcycled Denim Sunglasses by Mosevic

Upcycled Denim Sunglasses by Mosevic

Mosevic is a UK-based sustainable accessories company that upcycles denim and creates unique, eco-friendly sunglasses and phone cases. All of their products are handmade in Cornwall, England.

Price: 149.00

 

23. Paper Sunglasses by Paper & Paper

Upcycled Paper Frame Sunglasses by Paper & Paper

Paper & Paper is a Spanish company whose philosophy is to “move away from fast-fashion to embrace the handmade movement.” They create their one-of-a-kind frames by laser-cutting upcycled paper pieces and then placing them by hand into an acetate base. The process gives their eyeglass frames a cool 3D effect. The company offers frames made from comic books, newspapers, and other types of paper.

Price: 275.00

 

To see more eco-conscious sunglasses, check out my post on:

Wood and Bamboo Sunglasses

Wood Frame and Bamboo Sunglasses

Sea of Shadows, a Film About Saving the Vaquita, the Most Endangered Marine Mammal in the World

The critically endangered vaquita whale
A rare glimpse of the critically endangered vaquita porpoise. Photo: National Geographic.

The documentary film Sea of Shadows – about the peril that the near-extinct vaquita porpoise is in – has just opened in theaters. The vaquita is world’s smallest cetacean and the most endangered marine mammal on the planet.

The film follows a team of scientists, conservationists, investigative journalists, undercover agents, and members of the Mexican Navy – all who have put their lives at risk – as they try to save this little cetacean. There are possibly only 15 vaquitas remaining on Earth.

Here’s Sea of Shadows’ official trailer:

Right now, the vaquita’s natural habitat, the Sea of Cortez, is at risk of total ecological collapse. Jacques Cousteau once called the Sea of Cortez “the aquarium of the world” because of its abundance of life.

The cause of the vaquita’s vanishing numbers and the near-collapse of the Sea of Cortez ecosystem is illegal, exploitative fishing, namely of a fish called the totoaba, at the demand of Mexican drug cartels who are in business with the Chinese mafia. No, this is not a fictional Hollywood film. This is real life, right now, the world we live in.

Illegal gill nets pulled from the sea by the nonprofit Sea Shepherd
The collection of illegal gill nets pulled from the sea by the nonprofit Sea Shepherd is one of the reasons the vaquita has not yet become totally extinct. Photo: National Geographic.

To hunt the totoaba – simply because human beings want to eat it – the cartels are forcing the use of illegal gill nets, which kill a wide variety of other marine life, including the vaquita.

The film is a National Geographic Documentary Film and it’s directed by Richard Ladkani. Leonardo DiCaprio is one of the films executive producers.

Other producers and executive producers include Walter Köhler, Wolfgang Knöpfler, Jennifer Davisson, Phillip Watson, Dinah Czezik-Müller, Michael Frenschkowski, Rebecca Cammisa, and Laura Nix.

Learn more at National Geographic.com.

27 Cool Phone Cases: Eco-Friendly, Wood, Bamboo, Recycled & Vegan!

Eco-Friendly Phone Cases: Wood, Bamboo, Recycled, Sustainable, Biodegradable, VeganThere’s never been a better selection of cool phone cases to protect your most-used piece of technology. And what makes a phone case especially cool? Well, not only does it look good while protecting your phone, it also does its part to lessen its impact on the Earth.

Today, there are laser-engraved bamboo phone cases, cases made from recycled skateboards, and other styles made from sustainable cork, recycled plastic, and even compostable bioplastic. And just because these phone covers are gentle on the Earth doesn’t mean they’re not tough enough to protect your phone. I looked for the best mobile phone cases available based on their combination of innovative Earth-friendly materials, creative and unique designs, and their reputations for being durable enough to protect your phone.

So, whether you’re looking for the perfect wood phone case for your iPhone or a recycled plastic case for your Samsung Galaxy, search no more. But just in case you need a little more convincing, here’s some additional intel on why eco-friendly phone cases are the coolest phone cases you can buy.

Here’s why it’s cool to get a phone case made of sustainable materials:

  • 5 billion is the number of cell phone users around the globe. (Statista)
  • 22 months is the average time people keep their cell phones before getting a new one. (Business Insider)
  • 1 billion mobile phones are bought every year. (The Guardian)

Pile of Used Cell Phones

At this rate, if everyone buys a new case when they upgrade their phone, and they throw their old case away, that’s a heck of a lot of phone cases going into the landfill or the ocean year after year. This is why I try to avoid as much petrol-based plastic as possible.

What makes a phone case eco-friendly?

If you’re in the market for a new cell phone case, here are some things to look for. The phone cases in this post all have at least one of these qualifications.

First, it’s made with:

  • Natural, sustainable, and easily biodegradable materials, such as bamboo, cork, or sustainably-harvested wood
  • Biodegradable plastic or recycled plastic
  • Other non-toxic materials (glues, adhesives, lining)

Second, and ideally, it comes with:

  • Carbon-neutral validation
  • Environmental certifications

And with that, here are the coolest phone cases on the market today:

COMPOSTABLE PHONE CASES

1. Pela Case Biodegradable Phone Cases

Pela Case founder, Jeremy Lang, was raised in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan, where most the global supply of oil seed flax is grown. Watching many seasons of the flax harvest, he believed there should be some sort of consumer use for the leftover flax straw once the flax oil was harvested. And being someone who cared about the environment, he was aware of the tremendous waste problem that our species needs to address.

He also found it odd that the average person replaces their smart phone every 22 months, yet the conventional plastic phone case used to protect the phone would last for hundreds of years. Making the connection, he developed a biodegradable and compostable material based on leftover flax straw, which he named FlaxsticTM, and the Pela Case was born. In addition to making their bioplastic phone cases, Pela Case gives back by donating at least 1% of their sales to environmental nonprofits through 1% for the Planet.

Here’s a cool video from Pela that shows you just what goes into their sustainable and biodegradable phone cases:

Pela Case fits:

These cases fit:

iPhone X, XS, XR, 8 Plus, 8, 7 Plus, 7, 6 Plus, 6, 6, 6s, and 5

Samsung Galaxy S9+, S9, S8+, S8, S7 Edge, and S7

Google Pixel 2XL and 2

Huawei P20 Lite

Price: ~$19.98 – $35.00

Buy now at Pela

Buy Pela on Amazon >

 

WOOD PHONE CASES

2. Wood Phone Cases by Evutec®

Wood iPhone 7 Case by Evutec in Black ApricotEvutec produces Earth-friendly cases made from wood and bamboo that is certified as harvested from responsibly managed forests by the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC) Chain of Custody Standard. These FSC certified cases come in a variety of woods, such as white ash and ebony. They fit a range of cell phones, including the Samsung Galaxy and iPhone. Evutec’s cases are made from a blend of organic materials that are woven together with wood veneer to create a strong case that is resistant to warping from heat and moisture.

You may be wondering how well these sleek wood cases will protect your phone. You can see for yourself in this video:

Evutec Wood Series fits:

iPhone 5, 6, and 7

Samsung Galaxy S5 and S6

Price:~ $5.99 – $34.95

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3. Wood Phone Cases by Carved

Carved offers such a wide variety of colors and styles of wood phone cases that you’ll have a hard time choosing just one. I reached out to Carved to find out where they source the wood for their cases and they told us they always look for wood that is responsibly harvested. They also source reclaimed wood from old structures and from locally downed trees after storms. Based in Elkhart, Indiana, the Carved team puts their love of technology and craftsmanship into every case they make.

Here’s a video featuring John Webber, the founder of Carved, and his team at their workshop:

Carved wood phone cases fit:

iPhone 5, 6, 6 Plus, 7, 7 Plus, 8, 8 Plus, and X

Samsung Galaxy S5, S6, S7, S8, S9, and S10

Google Pixel XL

Price: ~$19.00 – $39.00

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4. Wood Phone Case in Walnut Burl by Carved

Wood Phone Case in Walnut Burl by Carved

Carved creates so many beautiful, cool wood phone cases that they make it hard to choose. So, I had to include one more design in this post. This wood phone case is hand-carved with real walnut burl. Carved will make your case to order from their woodshop in Elkhart, Indiana.

Carved’s walnut burl phone case fits:

iPhone XS Max, XS, XR, X, 8 Plus, 8, 7 Plus, 7, 6 Plus, 6, and 6s

Samsung Galaxy S10, S9+, S9, S8+, S8, S7 Edge, and S7

Google Pixel XL, 2XL, and 2

Price:~ $32.00
Buy on Etsy

 

5. Wood Phone Cases by The Eco Owl

Wood Phone Case by the Eco Owl

Based in Dublin, Ireland, The Eco Owl makes some truly unique phone cases. In addition to their laser-cut wood cases, they make natural aromatic cases, which you can see in the Vegan Phone Cases section below.

The Eco Owl’s wooden phone cases fit:

iPhone XS Max, XS, XR, X, 8 Plus, 8, 7 Plus, 7, 6 Plus, 6, and 6s

Samsung Galaxy S10, S9+, S9, S8+, S8, S7 Edge, and S7

Google Pixel XL, 2XL, and 2

Price: ~$17.79 – $32.01
Buy on Etsy

 

6. Socially Conscious Wood Phone Cases by Ottos Case

Otto Case Wood Phone Case

Otto Cases creates ornate, customized phone cases in bamboo, rose wood, cherry wood, and other woods. There’s a design for everyone, and it’s fun to check out their Etsy shop just to see the variety. Otto Case donates 10% of sales to charities.

Fits:

iPhone XS Max, XS, XR, X, 8 Plus, 8, 7 Plus, 7, 6 Plus, 6, and 6s

Samsung Galaxy S10, S9+, S9, S8+, S8, S7 Edge, and S7

Price: ~$29.00
Buy on Etsy

 

7. Laser-Engraved Wood Phone Case by Sugar Yeti

Sugar Yeti’s philosophy is that we all need to get closer to nature. And for those times when you can’t be in nature, you should surround yourself with things from nature. This is one of the founding principles of why they make their phone cases from natural materials. Their unique, laser-engraved phone covers are made in Orange County in Southern California. They’re durable, yet have a slim and sleek low profile, so they don’t add a lot of bulk to your phone.

Sugar Yeti fits: iPhone X, XS, 6 Plus, 6, and 5

Price: ~$11.95 – $24.95

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8. Laser-Engraved Wood Phone Case by Wdpkr

Laser-Engraved Wood Phone Case with Wave Motif

Wdpkr puts a slight spin on the wooden phone case. They cover the wood in a black coating, and then laser-engrave a design that reveal the natural wood underneath. Each piece is unique. Their philosophy: “Be bold and showcase your inner beauty.”

Fits: iPhone 8 Plus, 8, 7 Plus, 7, 6 Plus, and 6

Price: ~$26.95

Buy Now on Amazon Button in Red 360w

 

9. Laser Engraved Wood Phone Cases by Cutly

Laser-Engraved Tropical Flower Wooden Phone Case by CutlyCutly is another designer that laser engraves artwork onto wooden phone cases. They offer an array of designs and patterns, including geometric, floral, animals, and abstract. Check out their Etsy store to see them all.

iPhone X, XS, 8 Plus, 8, 7 Plus, 7, 6 Plus, 6, 6, 6s, and 5

Samsung Galaxy S9+, S9, S8+, S8, S7 Edge, S7, and S6

Google Pixel 2XL and 2

Price: ~$23.71 – $33.88
Buy on Etsy

 

10. Socially Conscious Laser-Engraved Wooden Phone Cases by Otto Cases

Customer Laser-Engraved Phone Cases by Otto Cases

Otto Cases donates 10% of the proceeds from their laser-engraved phone cases to charity. In addition to bamboo, they engrave on rose wood, cherry, and walnut. Plus, they’ll do custom order – just send them a photo or other design via their Etsy store.

Fits:

iPhone X, XS, 8 Plus, 8, 7 Plus, 7, 6 Plus, 6, and 6

Samsung Galaxy S9+, S9, S8+, S8, S7 Edge, S7, and S6

Price: ~$17.99 – $29.99
Buy on Etsy

 

11. Custom Laser-Engraved Photo on an iPhone Case

Custom Laser-Engraved from a Photo Phone CaseFor another laser-engraved phone case that’s truly your own, Manual Paradise will laser-engrave a design for you from a photo on to a cherry wood case.

Fits:

iPhone X, XS, 8 Plus, 8, 7 Plus, 7, 6 Plus, 6, and 6

Price: ~$19.90 – $27.90
Buy on Etsy

 

12. Cool Laser-Engraved Wooden Phone Cases by Engraver’s Dungeon

Laser-Engraved Wood Phone Cases by Engraver's DungeonThen there is Engraver’s Dungeon. Located in Valencia, Spain, husband and wife team Diego and Camelia, create some very cool and truly unique – if a little scary – cell phone covers. I must say, with all the phone case research I’ve done, I have never seen anything quite like this. Engraver’s Dungeon also does custom orders.

So, for all you Goths, Alien, Predator, and Creature from the Black Lagoon fans out there, be sure to visit their Etsy store to see them all. Warning: It’s not for the feint hearted.

Here’s a cool video from Engraver’s Dungeon:

These cases fit:

iPhone X, XS, XR, 8 Plus, 8, 7 Plus, 7, 6 Plus, 6, 6, 6s, and 5

Samsung Galaxy S9+, S9, S8+, S8, S7 Edge, S7, and S6

Price: ~$39.99
Buy on Etsy

 

VEGAN PHONE CASES

Technically, all of the phone cases on UniGuide are vegan because everything on UniGuide is vegan. And none of these phone cases have leather or other animal products in them. But, aside from the Pela Case above, these next few phone cases are truly “plant based”, so I included them here.

13. Phone Sleeve Made from Woven Grass by Autumn Grain

Biodegradable Phone Made from Woven GrassAutumn Grain is another cool phone case designer I found that is creating something truly unique. This eco-friendly phone sleeve is made with a woven grass and it has a vegan cotton lining. Autumn Grain will personalize your case with your name or initials (and that’s a faux leather square on the corner.)

Fits: All size phone cases. Made to order.

Price: ~$29.00
Buy on Etsy

 

14. Biodegradable Phone Case Made from Woven Palm Leaves

 Biodegradable Phone Case Made with Woven Palm LeavesAnother beautiful design by Autumn Grain, this eco-friendly phone sleeve is made with woven palm leaves and it has a cotton lining.

Fits: All size phone cases. Made to order.

Price: ~$29.00
Buy on Etsy

 

15. Aromatic Coffee Bean Phone Case by The Eco Owl

Aromatic Coffee Bean Phone Case

Yes, those are real coffee beans. And yes, this phone case smells like coffee. The Eco Owl takes hand-picked sustainable organic materials and encases them in a polyurethane cover. Check out The Eco Owl’s Etsy store to see more of their unique designs.

This phone case fits:

iPhone X, XS, XR, 8 Plus, 8, 7 Plus, 7, 6 Plus, 6, 6, 6s, and 5

Samsung Galaxy S9+, S9, S8+, S8, S7 Edge, and S7

Price: ~$41.49
Buy on Etsy

 

16. Eco Phone Case Made with Austrian Alpine Hay

https://www.etsy.com/listing/640904979/alpine-hay-iphone-case-organic-samsung

And yes, that is real hay, and this phone case smells like hay! Hay from the Austrian Alps, to be specific. Another truly unique design by The Eco Owl, this vegan phone case is made with hand-picked Alpine grass and encased in a water-resistant polyurethane cover.

This phone case fits:

iPhone X, XS, XR, 8 Plus, 8, 7 Plus, 7, 6 Plus, 6, 6, 6s, and 5

Samsung Galaxy S9+, S9, S8+, S8, S7 Edge, and S7

Price: ~$41.49
Buy on Etsy

 

BAMBOO PHONE CASES

17. Sustainable Bamboo Cell Phone Cases by Reveal

Bamboo iPhone Case with Green Grip by RevealReveal was born out of founder Terry Omata’s love of nature and technology. After working in manufacturing in China for a decade, he experienced a crisis in his career, which he talked about in a conversation I had with him, which I shared in a UniGuide blog post. Terry knew there had to be a better way of designing products – one that revealed the beauty of nature, of sustainable materials, and a new way of looking at the world.

Reveal makes a variety of sustainable tech accessories, including wood and bamboo iPhone cases, iPad Mini cases, and a portable solar powered speaker that is accented with bamboo. As a company that is dedicated to stopping the destruction of the Earth’s natural ecosystems, Reveal plants a tree for every product they sell. To date, in conjunction with the nonprofit American Forests, they’ve helped plant over 40 million trees around the world.

Reveal fits:

iPhone X, XS, XR, 8 Plus, 8, 7 Plus, 7, 6 Plus, 6, 6, 6s, and 5

Price: ~$9.99 – $29.99
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18. Bamboo Folio Case for iPhone 7, 7 Plus, 8, and 8 Plus by Reveal

Phone Case Folio with Stand by Reveal

Phone Case Folio with Stand by Reveal - Inside ViewIf you want a cool phone case that has a cover over your screen and a built-in stand, this design by Reveal will fit the bill. It is also made with bamboo and comes in both a dark wood color and a light wood color.

This Reveal folio fits:

iPhone X, XS, XR, 8 Plus, 8, 7 Plus, 7, 6 Plus, 6, 6, 6s, and 5

Price: ~$39.99
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19. Custom Bamboo iPhone Cases by I Make the Case

Laser Engraved with Lion Bamboo Phone Case by I Make the CaseI Make the Case creates a wide assortment of eco-friendly phone cases in laser-engraved bamboo, and they do custom designs as well. The offer so many designs that you’d be hard pressed not to find one that “speaks” to you.

According to I Make the Case, “Bamboo is revered as ‘eco-friendly’ because it’s fast-growing and can yield 20-times more wood than trees. Bamboo also releases 35% more oxygen into the air than trees of similar size. The Japanese expression wabi-sabi sums up the wonder of bamboo. It means, ‘There’s beauty in imperfection.’ We love that each bamboo skin has its own unique coloration, grain, and flow, and we value the opportunity to be connected to nature with these small treasures. We think it’s the perfect yin, to the high tech iPhone yang!”

I couldn’t have said it better myself. Amen.

I Make the Case fits:

iPhone XS Max, XS, XR, X, 8 Plus, 8, 7 Plus, 7, 6 Plus, 6, and 6s

Price: ~$19.95 – $29.95
Buy on Etsy

 

CORK PHONE CASES

20. Sustainable Cork iPhone Cases by Reveal

Japanese Wave Painting Cork iPhone Case by RevealAnother material that sustainable products company Reveal uses in their phone covers is cork. Cork is a sustainable and renewable natural resource, as cork trees don’t have to be cut down to harvest their bark. Cork forests serve as important habitat for over 13,000 species of animals, plants, and insects, which are not found anywhere else. Like their bamboo phone covers, Reveal’s cork phone cases are ultra-durable and well-made. There are a variety of patterns in Reveal’s “cork leather” cases, from the Japanese wave shown above to hibiscus flowers and styles with a more unfinished, organic look. There’s also a folio style if you like to cover the screen of your phone.

Reveal fits:

iPhone X, XS, XR, 8 Plus, 8, 7 Plus, 7, 6 Plus, 6, 6, 6s, and 5

Price: ~$9.99 – $29.99
Buy Now on Amazon Button in Red 360w

 

21. Eco Quote Cork Phone Cases

Eco Quote Cork Phone Cases

Based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Eco Quote creates phone cases and other vegan accessories from sustainable cork.

Fits:

iPhone 7 Plus, 7, 6 Plus, 6, 6, 6s, and 5

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, and S7

Price: ~$23.40

Buy on Etsy

 

22. Cork iPhone Cases by Hey Love Bag

Cork and Metallic Turquoise Vegan Phone Sleeve by Hey Love BugHey Love Bug makes eco-friendly accessories with sustainable cork. Check out this cork iPhone case and other designs, including cork iPhone wallets, in their Etsy shop.

These cork phone cases fit:

iPhone XS, XR, 8 Plus, 8, 7 Plus, 7, 6 Plus, 6, and 5

Price:~$19.99 – $29.99

Buy on Etsy

 

RECYCLED PHONE CASES

23. Recycled Skateboard Phone Case by Carved

Recycled Skateboard Phone Case
These recycled skateboard cases by Carved are definitely crowd favorites. The combination of recycled, super colorful, and skateboard roots make them a standout on the eco phone case scene.

Carved skateboard cases fit:

iPhone XS Max, XS, XR, X, 8 Plus, 8, 7 Plus, 7, 6 Plus, 6, and 6s

Samsung Galaxy S10, S9+, S9, S8+, S8, S7 Edge, and S7

Google Pixel XL, 2XL, and 2

Price: ~$39.00
Buy on Etsy

 

24. Skateboard Phone Case by Skate4create

Recycled Skateboard Phone Cases by Skate4CreateDedicated skateboarders, Skate4create hand makes phone cases, jewelry, and accessories out of recycled skateboards in their workshop in Vilnius, Lithuania. Check out their shop on Etsy to see more.

Skate4Creates skateboard phone cases fit:

iPhone XS Max, XS, XR, X, 8 Plus, 8, 7 Plus, 7, 6 Plus, 6, and 6s

Samsung Galaxy S10, S9+, S9, S8+, S8, S7 Edge, and S7

Price: ~$30.83 – $34.39

Buy on Etsy

 

UPCYCLED PHONE CASES

25. Recycled Tire Phone Sleeve by Velo Culture

Recycled Tire Phone Sleelve

Made with upcycled bicycle inner tubes, this cool phone case is practically waterproof and it comes with plenty of rubber cushioning.

Velo Culture’s upcycled tire sleeve can be custom made to fit any model of phone.

Price: ~$19.63
Buy on Etsy

 

26. Upcycled Junk Food Wrapper Phone Cases

Upcycled Candy Wrapper Phone Sleeve

My Little Sweethearts creates phone sleeves and other accessories with colorful used candy and junk food wrappers. If you’ve got a Doritos lover in the house, this may be just the thing they need!

Fits: A variety of phone sizes

Price: ~$16.00 – $19.55
Buy on Etsy

 

27. Upcycled Tennis Ball Phone Sleeve

Upcycled Tennis Ball Phone Sleeve

If you have any tennis enthusiast friends, this makes a fun gift. But watch out if they have tennis ball enthusiast dog. :o)

Fits: iPhone 4 and 5

Price: ~$42.50
Buy on Etsy

 

If you’re also looking for eco-friendly and vegan cases for your iPad, iPad Mini, or other tablet computers, check out these other posts on UniGuide:

Wood, Bamboo, and Cork iPad Cases (That Are Also Vegan!)

 

Eco-Friendly, Recycled, and Vegan iPad Cases and Tablet Sleeves

4 Eco, Recycled, and Vegan iPad Cases and Table Sleeves

 

Eco-Friendly and Vegan iPad Mini Cases

Eco and Vegan iPad Mini Covers

 

Save

19 Eco-Friendly Recycled Tote Bags

Eco-friendly, recycled tote bags

When I started doing my research on eco-friendly tote bags, the plan was to write just one blog post about totes. But there turned out to be so many, I knew I had to divide and conquer. In this post, I decided to focus on a fun variety of totes – and that’s recycled tote bags. Recycled and upcycled totes have a backstory to tell. There’s real ingenuity in the sourcing of materials, with the goal of reducing waste while still creating a great-looking and durable bag. So, here they are – a collection of recycled tote bags. Don’t leave home without one!

1. Patagonia Recycled Tote Bag

Patagonia Recycled Tote BagVowing to be completely carbon neutral by 2025, Patagonia is a pioneer when it comes to creating sustainable clothing, accessories, and gear. I have boundless respect for this company and their brand!

Patagonia’s Planing Tote is the perfect beach bag because it had compartments to separate wet things, like a bathing suit or towel, from dry stuff, like a book and your cell phone. There’s also an external mesh pocket that expands to hold items you need quick access to, such as your flip flops or wallet. Plus, the bag’s convenient grab handles make it easy to convert into a backpack.

This tote is made with recycled polyester.

Here’s a video from Patagonia on this this super versatile, recycled tote bag:

Price: ~$79.00

Buy Now on Patagonia

 

2. Patagonia Iron Forge Recycled Polyester and Hemp Tote Bag

Patagonia Iron Forge Recycled Polyester and Hemp Tote BagThis hardy tote bag is strong enough to carry a set of tools and it will stand up to years of use. It’s made with a fabric blend that combines super strong and sustainable hemp canvas, recycled polyester, and organic cotton. And the lining is made with 100% recycled polyester.

Price: ~$129.00

Buy Now on Patagonia

 

3. Patagonia Recycled Polyester Duffel Bag

Patagonia Recycled Polyester Duffel Bag

Perfect for road trips, as a gym bag, or an airplane carry on, Patagonia’s Planing Duffel Bag is made with recycled polyester and nylon.

It has a separate compartment for wet gear, like towels, your wetsuit and bathing suit, plus other compartments that will keep your other belongings dry.

Here’s a video from Patagonia about the Planing Duffel Bag:

Price: ~$139.00

Buy Now on Patagonia

 

4. LaBante London Recycled Plastic Bottle Tote Bags

LaBante London Recycled Plastic Bottle Tote BagsA socially conscious brand, LaBante London donates 10% of their profits to charitable causes. All of LaBante’s accessories are 100% vegan. But while their totes and other bags look like they’re made with leather, in fact, they’re made with recycled plastic and other eco-friendly materials.

You can see LaBante’s purses in my post about vegan handbags.

Price: ~$149.90 – $280.00

Buy Now on Amazon

 

5. Haiku Recycled Plastic Tote Bags

Haiku Recycled Plastic Tote BagsHaiku’s brightly colored tote bags and other accessories are made with 100% recycled plastic bottles. Every Haiku bag keeps at least five plastic bottles out of the landfill or from polluting the ocean. You can see more of Haiku’s recycled bags in my posts about vegan handbags and eco-friendly messenger bags. Or, visit their shop on Amazon to see their collection.

Price: ~$29.99 – $79.95

Buy Now on Amazon

 

6. Recycled Cabo Backpack Tote

Recycled Cabo Backpack ToteA great urban commute bag, the Sherpani Cabo tote can be converted from a shoulder bag into a backpack. It’s made with water-resistant recycled materials and it has an RFID-protected pocket to protect your digital information from identify-theft. This handy bag also has an interior sleeve to hold a tablet computer.

Price: ~$69.95

Buy Now on REI

 

7. Multi-Colored Repurposed Nylon Tote

Multi-Colored Repurposed Nylon Tote

Every Cotopaxi Taal convertible tote bag is one of a kind – the artisans who make the bags select the color scheme for each bag they sew from repurposed nylon fabric.

This bag has an inside zipper pocket to hold your valuables, plus a separate pocket that will hold your reusable water bottle while protecting other belongings from condensation.

Price: ~$50.00

Buy Now on REI

 

8. Blue Q Recycled Plastic Tote Bags

Blue Q Recycled Plastic Tote BagsThe perfect errand and grocery tote, these colorful bags by Blue Q are made with 95% post-consumer recycled materials. They’re practically waterproof and very easy to clean. Plus, they’re super strong, with capacity to hold 30 pounds.

And it gets better! Blue Q donates 1% of sales from these recycled totes to the Nature Conservancy.Blue Q Recycled Plastic TotePrice: ~$10.99 – $13.99

Buy Now on Amazon

 

Upcycled Tote Bags

9. Alchemy Goods Recycled Tire Bags

Alchemy Goods Recycled Tire BagsUsed tires and inner tubes are a scourge on the planet because they can take 80 years to decompose, and if they’re burned, they emit toxic chemicals. Plus, we keep making more of them. Alchemy Goods is playing a role in reducing tire waste by repurposing used inner tubes and turning them into durable, water-resistant accessories. To date, they’ve kept over 500,000 inner tubes out of the landfill.

All of their products are produced in their workshop in Seattle, Washington. You can see more of their upcycled tire accessories in my posts on vegan backpacks, eco-friendly messenger bags, and recycled wallets.

Price: ~$89.00 – $149.95

Buy Now on Amazon

 

10. Recycled Tire Tote Bag by Tube Bags Thailand

Recycled Tire Tote Bag by Tube Bags ThailandTube Bags Thailand is another designer that’s doing their part to eliminate used tire waste. This upcycled tote bag is handmade by artisans in rural Thailand. You can see more upcycled tire accessories by Tube Bags in my posts on vegan handbags and recycled wallets.

Price: ~$32.36

Buy on Etsy

 

11. Upcycled Vinyl Sign Bags by AfriEco Designs

Upcycled Vinyl Sign Bags by AfriEco DesignsAfriEco Designs creates colorful, one-of-a-kind totes and others bags with recycled, upcycled, and natural materials. This colorful tote bag is handmade from other used bags. AfriEco’s founders are based in Germany, but they travel to different countries in Africa to help create manufacturing jobs for local craftspeople in Fair Trade conditions.

You can see upcycled laptop cases by AfriEco in my post about eco-friendly laptop cases and sleeves.

Price: ~$47.55

Buy on Etsy

 

12. Upcycling by Milo Upcycled Totes

Upcycling by Milo Recycled TotesUpcycling by Milo makes colorful, one-of-a-kind accessories from a wide array of upcycled materials, including vinyl records, billboard signs, candy wrappers, and vintage advertisements. You can see more of their designs in my posts on eco-friendly laptop cases and vegan backpacks.

Price: ~$120.00

Buy Now on Amazon

 

13. Sea Bags Upcycled Sail Tote Bags

Sea Bags Upcycled Sail Tote Bag with Yellow LabThese adorable tote bags are made with reclaimed sail cloths. The appropriately named Sea Bags creates all of their one-of-a-kind bags in their workshop in Portland, Maine. The handles on these tote bags are made with sustainable hemp rope.

Sea Bags Upcycled Sail Tote BagsPrice: ~$160.00 – $235.00

Buy Now on Amazon

 

14. Upcycled Burlap Coffee Bag Totes

Upcycled Burlap Coffee Bag TotesWhat to do with all those giant burlap coffee bean bags when there’s not more coffee in them? Turn them into unique, eco-friendly tote bags! Sack Cloth makes a few different styles of bags and other accessories with reclaimed coffee bags.

Price: ~$26.00 – $44.00

Buy Now on Amazon

 

15. Lined Coffee Bag Tote Bags

Recycled Coffee Bag ToteHandmade in Iowa by Dandrik Designs, these eco-friendly totes are also made with repurposed coffee bags. The bags are lined with colorful fabric, making them reversible, so you get two bags in one.

Price: ~$34.99 – $64.99

Buy on Etsy

 

16. Recycled Cement Bag Tote Bags

Recycled Cement Bag Tote BagsHandmade in Cambodia, these colorful recycled tote bags are made with reclaimed cement and feed bags. Perfect for beach days or trips to the farmers’ market, these bags are super durable and easy to clean. Plus, they have an inside zip pocket to hold your valuables.

Price: ~$29.00

Buy Now on Amazon

 

17. Socially-Conscious, Reclaimed Bag Totes

Socially-Conscious, Reclaimed Bag TotesThese socially-conscious bags are made from reclaimed bags and other materials in association with the nonprofit International Women’s Association KEP. The organization helps to create jobs for disadvantage women in Cambodia. Your purchase goes towards helping these women become more self-sustaining.

Socially-Conscious, Reclaimed Bag Tote Bags Made in CambodiaPrice: ~$15.63 – $57.30

Buy on Etsy

 

18. Recycled Bird Seed Bag Totes

Recycled Bird Seed Bag TotesWho knew that bird seed feed bags were so pretty? Pine Needles and Thread founder Sarah Bruce creates these unique and colorful bags in her workshop in Lufkin, Texas.

Recycled Bird Seed Bag TotesPrice: ~$8.00 – $9.00

Buy on Etsy

 

19. Vintage Tote Bags

Vintage Tote BagsWhat’s another great way to get a recycled tote bag? Buy a vintage one! Etsy and eBay have a great selection of used totes too. And you’ll find more eco-friendly tote bags in my post on vegan totes.

Have fun wherever your next adventure takes you!

New Study: Global Reforestation Is the #1 Way to Fight Climate Change

Stout Memorial Grove in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, Northern California.
Stout Memorial Grove in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, Northern California. Photo: MChee2.

According to new research published in the journal Science, restoring forest land on a global scale could dramatically reduce the amount of carbon in the atmosphere and thus help to mitigate the impacts of climate change and biodiversity loss. While most of us know the importance of planting trees to fight climate change, this new study has quantified how many trees we need to plant and how much carbon they could absorb.

The scientists used direct measurements of forest cover to create a model of how and where parts of the Earth could be reforested. They used geospatial imaging to determine how much additional tree cover could be grown in areas that are not currently being used for agricultural and urban uses. (They did include current grazing land as areas where we could potentially to regrow forests. As is happening in the Amazon Rainforest, entire forests have been destroyed to allow grazing for livestock.)

The study found that existing natural ecosystems could support an increase of over 25 percent of forested land that included 500 billion new trees. If we plant this many trees, we could reduce atmospheric carbon by 25 percent.

The scientists found there is room for an additional 0.9 billion hectares (about 2.2 billion acres) of tree canopy cover in areas around the Earth that already naturally support woodlands and forests.

Tropical rainforest canopy, near Cairns, Queensland, Australia.
Tropical rainforest canopy, near Cairns, Queensland, Australia. Photo: Willem van Aken, CSIRO.

Planting this many trees in these areas could store over 200 gigatons of carbon. Just for comparison, according to another data set, since 1850 (roughly the start of the Industrial Revolution in the U.S.), we have released about 910 gigatons of carbon into the atmosphere.

Because trees are so effective at absorbing carbon and because they’re relatively inexpensive and easy to grow, according to the study, restoring the Earth’s forests is currently the most effective thing we can do to fight climate change. However, climate change as it’s happening right now is already impacting forests and it will continue to impact new trees that are planted, the report says. Thus, it’s crucial that we change from our current trajectory and reduce our carbon emissions.

Larch forest, Eastern Siberia
Larch forest in Eastern Siberia. Photo: Franz Hafner.

The authors of the report underscored the need for immediate action. In an article by Damian Carrington in the Guardian, the lead researcher on the study, Professor Tom Crowther of the Swiss university ETH Zürich, emphasized that we must reverse current trends in greenhouse gas emissions and drop them to zero as a reforestation project of this magnitude will take 50-100 years to be effective.

One of the blessings of planting trees, said Crowther, is that trees are “a climate change solution that doesn’t require President Trump to immediately start believing in climate change, or scientists to come up with technological solutions to draw carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. It is available now, it is the cheapest one possible, and every one of us can get involved.”

Planting trees in India.
Planting trees in India. Photo: Shrinivaskulkarni.

 

Organizations that plant trees:

Nature Conservancy

Friends of the Urban Forest

One Tree Planted

National Forest Foundation

Another idea: Google “native trees” + your geographical area and plant some in your own community with your friends and neighbors. I know I’m going to. :o)

Mexican spotted owl.
Mexican spotted owl. Photo: USDA.

Leonardo DiCaprio Joins Billionaires to Form New Environmental Group

Earth Alliance: Leonardi DiCaprio, Laurene Powell Jobs, Brian and Adria Sheth

Leonardo DiCaprio has teamed up with billionaire philanthropists Laurene Powell Jobs and Brian Sheth to create a new environmental organization that will focus on stopping biodiversity loss and climate change.

The new nonprofit is called Earth Alliance and it will “work globally to protect ecosystems and wildlife, ensure climate justice, support renewable energy, and secure indigenous rights to the benefit of all life on Earth,” the new organization said in a statement.

Earth Alliance will give grants, provide environmental educational opportunities, and invest in campaigns and films to stop biodiversity loss and climate change. In addition, they’ll support grassroots organizations and individuals in areas that are especially impacted by these environmental crises.

DiCaprio says Earth Alliance is “a new larger, nimble platform that shares resources and expertise while identifying the best programs to drive real change around the planet.”

His existing foundation, the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, will be folded into Earth Alliance. Already, the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation provides grants for a number of environmental and species protection initiatives, including protecting lions, restoring mangroves, defending the rights of indigenous people, and providing better access to affordable solar energy.

Releasing a Tasmanian devil back into the wild
Releasing a Tasmanian devil back into the wild. Photo: Global Wildlife Conservation.

Teaming up with DiCaprio, Brian Sheth is the co-founder and president of the private equity firm Vista Equity Partners. He’s also the board chair of Global Wildlife Conservation, a nonprofit that focuses on biodiversity and wildlife protection. In addition, Sheth founded The Sheth Sangreal Foundation with his wife, Adria Sheth, an organization that supports environmental and educational initiatives. The Sheth Sangreal Foundation will fund the operational and administrative costs of Earth Alliance.

Laurene Powell Jobs is the president and founder of the Emerson Collective, a social impact organization that advocates for social justice, education and immigration reform, and environmental conservation. Laurene is also the widow of Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple.

“I am proud to join with Leo and Brian to make a habitable Earth possible for future generations,” said Powell Jobs in a statement. “Leo is one of the most uniquely gifted communicators of our time, and with Earth Alliance, we will harness those gifts to inspire people, regardless of age, race, or geography, to stand up as leaders for our natural world and safeguard our imperiled planet.”

How to Make Your Home a Natural Habitat for Wildlife

Creating a Natural Habitat for Wildlife Around Your Home

Whether you have a 20-acre farm, a small suburban backyard, or a city balcony, you can help native wildlife in your community by giving them back some of the habitat they’ve lost.

Around the world, we’re facing a species extinction crisis, from bees and butterflies to elephants and whales, all the way up the food chain to apex predators, like tigers and sharks. Habitat loss due to human activity is one of the main causes of the die-off, along with pesticides, eating meat, and climate change-related factors. Giving even a little bit of natural habitat back to native species can help them.

Here are some tips for creating a natural habitat around your home to help native wildlife.

Tip 1: Learn about what plants, animals, and insects are indigenous to your local area.

Green tree frog. Photo: Jane Rohling, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Non-native species have been introduced to geographical areas for as long as human beings have been moving around. And just as the pace of communication, technology, and travel have escalated since the Industrial Revolution, so has the introduction of non-native species.

Learning about what’s native to your area can be eye opening and fun. And there are a variety of resources to help you learn. Here are a few:

Native Plant Resources:

Audubon Society Native Plants Database
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
USDA Plants Database
PlantNative.org
Native Plant Library

This might seem obvious, but in case you didn’t think about it – Googling “native plants” + your geographical area is one of the easiest ways to get information for your local area.

Also, you can contact your local plant nursery.

Native Insect Resources

Xerces Society
U.S. Forest Service

Google “native insects” + your geographical area.

Native Reptile Resources

Google “native reptiles” + your geographical area

Native Wildlife Resources

Google “native wildlife,” “native birds,” “native animals,” etc. + your geographical area.

 

Tip 2: Plant native plants.

Native plants growing in the Texas Panhandle
Native plants growing in the Texas Panhandle. Photo: USDA.

Whether in your yard or in pots on your windowsill, planting native plants is a vital way to help local birds, insects, and other wildlife.

Native plants are those that grow naturally in distinct ecosystems and geographical areas without being there as a result of human introduction. These types of plants have evolved over thousands of years to form symbiotic relationships with indigenous wildlife.

The benefits that native plants bring to an area plentiful. To begin, they’re low maintenance. They’ve already adapted to the temperature, rainfall, and other climate conditions in the local area, so they can outlast non-native species, while requiring a minimal amount of care. Native plants also require less water and are less costly to maintain than non-native plants.

Another benefit of native plants is they don’t require artificial pesticides and fertilizers to grow. They’ve already adapted to local insects, animals, and diseases. In the U.S., the average suburban lawn uses more pesticides per square foot than the average farm. Planting native plants means you don’t have to expose your family, pets, and neighbors to toxins from pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and artificial fertilizers.

Native plants also support local biodiversity. Indigenous insects, birds, reptiles, and other wildlife have co-evolved with native plants, and thus, they rely on them to survive and thrive, whether it’s for food or shelter.

 

Tip 3: Provide a source of water.

Bird in a bath
Photo: Karen Tucker.

Birds are attracted to the sound of running water, and they need it to survive just as we do. Insects also need access to water. Along with your native plants, it’s a good idea to provide a basin of water in your yard or on your balcony. If you don’t have a lot of space, there are battery-operated fountains that can bring a soothing ambiance to your balcony garden or other small spaces.

 

Tip 4: Provide shelter.

Chipmunk in a Birdhouse

Birdhouses, bug hotels, cubbies, and platforms in ponds can provide respite to wildlife. You can see some ideas for bug hotels in my post on helping bees, butterflies, and other insects. And Etsy and Amazon have a number of great ideas for birdhouses.

 

Tip 5: See how other people are doing it.

The National Wildlife Federation (NWF) has a program that teaches people how to support native habitats in their communities, and they even have a certification program.

Here’s a video from NWF about their Garden for Wildlife program:

The goal of your natural habitat project is to provide food, water, cover, and a place for native wildlife to raise their young. While you may not be ready to raise a pack of city rats on your balcony, you can still provide a safe landing spot for birds and insects.

If you’re an urban dweller or you don’t have a lot of space, check out my posts on roof gardens and vertical gardens. You’ll see that you don’t need a lot of space to create a little wildlife sanctuary.

Here’s a video of a family that got certified with the NWF’s habitat program:

A world where adults and kids help wildlife to thrive – that’s where I want to live!

Ecologists Find Rare Wild Bush Dogs in Costa Rica Mountains

Wild Bush Dogs, Costa Rica
Wild bush dog. Photo: University of Massachusetts.

Wildlife ecologists from the University of Massachusetts Amherst made a surprising discovery while studying conservation practices in the rugged Talamanca Mountains of Costa Rica, reports Alexander Schreyer. Carolina Saenz-Bolaños, a doctoral student, and Dr. Todd Fuller, her advisor and associate head at the Department of Environmental Conservation, were researching land use in the region and its impacts on the abundance of native species.

Talamanca Mountains of Costa Rica
Talamanca Mountains of Costa Rica. Photo: University of Massachusetts.

The ecologists had set up cameras to record wildlife in the region. When reviewing footage, they were stunned to see wild bush dogs (Speothos venaticus) in locations farther north and at the highest elevations ever recorded. Their findings were published in the journal Tropical Conservation Science.

Here’s a video of the bush dogs:

Video courtesy of University of Massachusetts.

The wild dogs are native to South America and are rarely seen there, in Costa Rica, or in neighboring Panama. Saenz-Bolaños has been studying wildlife and placing wildlife cameras in the region since 2012.

“I know most of the things that live here,” she said, “so when I saw them on the camera I said, ‘Wow, what is that – bush dogs here?’ I was very excited and thrilled to see them. The native people have a name for these dogs and their oral tradition says the dogs have been there in the past, but people living there now have never seen one.”

“They aren’t supposed to be there,” added Dr. Fuller, “but Carolina’s work shows they really are, and they seem to be doing well. Not only is this wild dog rare wherever it’s found, but this mountain range is very remote, with very little access. They could have been there before and we didn’t know it. So, we’re documenting them with this report.”

Bush Dogs in the Chester Zoo
Bush dogs in the Chester Zoo, Cheshire, England. Photo: Mike Peel.

Saenz-Bolaños collaborated with fellow UMass student Victor Montalvo and Eduardo Carrillo, a professor at Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica and a UMass Amherst adjunct professor, on her research.

The area where the bush dogs were seen is remote and without roads. Because it’s so inaccessible, the researchers are not sure if the wild dogs are there because they have expanded their range or if they’ve been there all along and were simply never seen by modern humans.

Vegetation, La Amistad International Park
Vegetation in La Amistad International Park, one of the areas where bush dogs were seen. Photo: Dirk M.

“There are still definitely interesting things to find out about them, especially if they’re expanding their range,” said Dr. Fuller.

Saenz-Bolaños plans to continue her research in the area and she says she hopes that other ecologists, park managers, and rangers in the region will set up their own cameras for additional glimpses of the wild canines.

17 Vegan 4th of July Recipes (That Will Make Carnivores Drool…)

Vegan 4th of July Recipes

Vegan 4th of July Dips

1. Raw 10-Minute Salsa by the Vegan 8

As someone who is a challenged chef, I really appreciate Brandi Doming’s vegan recipes because they all contain just eight ingredients. Brandi is a full-on Renaissance woman, with skills and talents beyond cooking, but her healthy vegan recipes will make you believe this is her true calling. Check out her blog to learn more about how she healed her husband’s health challenges by switching the family to a plant-based diet. You can get the recipe to this smooth, fresh salsa here. And you can check out her cookbook here.

Easy, Raw Salsa by the Vegan 8

 

2. Simple Guacamole by Loving It Vegan

As a fellow INFJ on the Myers Briggs Personality Test, Allison of Loving It Vegan is a girl after my own heart. On her 100% vegan food blog, which she creates with the help of her sweetheart Jaye and their two kitties, Allison writes openly about evolving beyond dieting and watching her weight to embracing healthy vegan eating and a healthy state of mind. After all, it’s what is in your head and heart that matters, not your shape or size. You can get her yummy guac recipe here.

Easy guacamole recipe

 

3. Buffalo Hummus Dip by the No Meat Athlete (Compliments of Oh She Glows)

Vegan chef extraordinaire Angela Liddon of Oh She Glows gives a shout-out to her pal Matt Frazier, aka the No Meat Athlete, for this delicious buffalo hummus recipe. Matt created this recipe because he missed the spicy sauce used in traditional buffalo wings. You can get the full recipe here.

Buffalo Hummus Dip by the No Meat Athlete

 

Vegan 4th of July Salads and Sides

4. Spinach, Blueberries, Strawberries, and Quinoa Salad by the Simple Veganista

I was on a quest to find a red, white, and blue vegan salad and Julie of the Simple Veganista delivered! An ambassador for the vegan food movement, Julie’s philosophy is to share her “celebration of foods that are clean, as nutrient-dense as possible, and cruelty free, taking the focus off of animal products and processed foods.” This beautiful salad is sure to be a crowd pleaser. You can get the recipe here.

Spinach, Blueberries, Strawberries, and Quinoa Salad by the Simple Veganista

 

5. Corn on the Cob by Nikki Vegan

Nikki Vegan is not only a popular vegan YouTube chef, she’s also a vegan eating coach, sharing “What I Are Today” videos that show you how to eat vegan when you’re on the run, traveling, or just trying to save money. You can get her vegan corn on the cob recipes here, and be sure to check out to her YouTube channel.

Corn on the Cob by Nikki Vegan

 

6. Vegan Cole Slaw by Cooking with Plants

Anja Cass is another popular vegan chef who found her way to a healthier lifestyle by embracing plant-based eating. Now she shares her delicious recipes with the world. After reading The China Study, she became vegan “almost overnight” and lost 50 pounds in four months. Check out her site Cooking with Plants, and you can get her yummy vegan cole slaw recipe here.

Vegan Cole Slaw by Cooking with Plants

 

7. Vegan Mashed Potatoes from the Minimalist Baker

Dana Shultz of the Minimalist Baker is a cookbook author, photographer, and all around uber ambassador to get more people over to the plant-based side of life. All of her recipes use 10 ingredients or less and the variety of dishes will have your drooling over her blog for a very long time. You can get this recipe for vegan mashed potatoes with their big slab of yes-that’s-vegan-butter here. And you can see her cookbooks here.

Vegan Mashed Potatoes from the Minimalist Baker

 

8. Vegan Baked Beans by the Whole Food Plant Based Cooking Show

Inspired by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, author of the popular book Eat to Live, Jill created the Whole Food Plant Based Cooking Show to help others find health through clean, plant-based eating. All of her recipes are free of refined sugar, oil, and salt. You can get her baked beans recipe, made with heirloom beans, here.

 Vegan Boston Baked Beans

 

9. Vegan Mac and Cheese by Preacher Lawson

Is he a comedian or a chef? He’s both! No matter what kind of mood I’m in, Preacher Lawson always puts a smile on my face. The first cooking video of his that I saw was one for vegan fried “chicken,” which I featured in my post about Decadent Vegan Recipes, and which was super popular with UniGuide visitors. I suppose this recipe for vegan mac and cheese could have gone in that post too – because it’s richly delicious! This one will be a crowd pleaser with kids and grownups alike. You can get the recipe here and be sure to check out more of Preacher’s hilarious videos here.

Vegan Mac and Cheese by Preacher Lawson

 

Vegan 4th of July Main Courses

10. Grilled Caribbean Veggie Kebabs

While there are a lot of recipes in this post that offer great-tasting vegan substitutes for traditional 4th of July meat dishes, I get that there are times when you just want your veggies and nothing else will do. In my experience, vegans often fall into two camps: those who have zero interest in meat substitute vegan dishes and those who are more “omnivorous” in their culinary pursuits, as long as it’s still vegan. So, I thought – we definitely need some veggie kebabs in this post for the only-vegetables-please vegans!

While The Caribbean Pot does offer meat dish recipes, I like that founder Chris De La Rosa offers a number of vegan and vegetarian recipes too. You can get the recipe for these veggie kebabs here.

Grilled Caribbean Veggie Kebabs

 

11. Vegan Cheeseburger Recipe from Tasty

And then there are those among you who can’t get over cheeseburgers. And why should you, when there are recipes like this one from Tasty? The BuzzFeed of viral cooking videos, Tasty offers tons of over-the-top yummy vegan recipe videos, and this plant-based cheeseburger is no exception. The burger is made with black beans, walnuts, mushrooms, and other savory ingredients, and you can top it off with your favorite vegan cheese and other fixins’. Get the full recipe here.

Vegan Cheeseburger Recipe from Tasty

 

12. Vegan Hot Dogs by Hot for Food

The queen of vegan comfort food, Hot for Food creator Lauren Toyota makes vegan cooking fun to watch and fun to eat. She’s got a new cookbook out called Vegan Comfort Classics that’s sure to appeal to foodies everywhere, both vegan and not so vegan. Check out how she makes this decadent vegan hot dog with relish when she goes head-to-head with her co-host John in their vegan hot dog making competition.Vegan Hot Dogs by Hot for Food

 

13. Gluten-Free Vegan Fried “Chicken” by Mary’s Test Kitchen

Another 4th of July recipe that’s sure to win over the carnivores is this vegan fried un-chicken recipe by Mary’s Test Kitchen. Not only is it vegan, it’s also gluten-free. Mary offers a variety of vegan recipes on her site, which has a section dedicated to special diets, including soy-free, nut-free, gluten-free, and more. You can get here sumptuous vegan fried “chicken” recipe here.

Vegan Fried Chicken Recipe

 

14. Sticky Vegan BBQ “Ribs”

You can tell that Gaz Oakley, creator of the Avant-Garde Vegan, is living in the zone, pursuing his life’s purpose. Whether you like to cook or not, his passion for creating delicious vegan dishes will have you enthralled as you watch his cooking videos on YouTube. His recipe for vegan “ribs” will surely win over your most hardcore carnivore family members and friends. You can get the full recipe here. And you can find his cookbook here.

Vegan BBQ Ribs

 

Vegan 4th of July Desserts

15. Red, White, and Blue Piña Colada Popsicles

Marina, creator of the Yummy Mummy Kitchen, shares healthy recipes, travel stories, and gardening tips in her lovely blog. She studied education and art in school, but confesses that cooking is her favorite art form. You can get the recipe for these fun, 4th of July-inspired piña colada popsicles here.

Red, White, and Blue Vegan Pina Colada Popsicles

 

16. Vegan Apple Pie

Fully embracing her inner sweet tooth, Nicole of Sweet Like Cocoa creates delectable vegan treats with whole ingredients. With gorgeous photos and vegan spins on traditional treats, Sweet Like Cocoa will make you want to get off your phone and into the kitchen so you can start baking. Get the recipe for this delicious vegan apple pie here.

Vegan Apple Pie

 

17. Summer Berry Cashew Cream Pie by One Green Planet

I’ve been reading One Green Planet for eons it seems, and I’ve been psyched to see them increasingly promote a vegan lifestyle and educate people about animal welfare and wildlife conservation issues. It’s sort of hard to believe that there was actually a time when people didn’t make the connection between environmental issues and how we eat. One Green Planet is helping people make that connection. One of the ways they’re doing this is by sharing delicious vegan recipes with the world. This red, white, and blue berry cashew cream pie looks over the top delicious and I can’t wait to make it! You can get the recipe here. Thanks, OGP and all of you vegan chefs. You are making the world a better place!

Vegan Berry Cream Pie

Happy 4th, Everyone!

Get Paid to Protect Bees? You Can in Minnesota.

Rusty Patched Bumblebee (Bombus affinis)
Rusty patched bumblebee (Bombus affinis). Photo: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Midwest Region.

One of our fellow Earthlings who’s been hit particularly hard by our use of pesticides and loss of his natural habitat is the rusty patched bumblebee, or Bombus affinis. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), as reported in Atlas Obscura, the population of the rusty patched bumblebee has declined by a staggering 90 percent.

The First Bumblebee Listed Under the Endangered Species Act

This decline, according to the FWS, is due to habitat loss, disease, and pesticide use. Thus, in 2017, Bombus affinis became the first bumblebee to be listed under the Endangered Species Act.

This species of bee was once plentiful in 28 U.S. states, as well as two Canadian provinces. But as of 2017, the FWS only found a few small, scattered populations in 13 U.S. states and in one Canadian province.

In this video, published by the California Academy of Sciences’ bioGraphic Magazine, you can see the rusty patched bumblebee in action.

Minnesota Crowns a State Bee

Minnesota’s Twin Cities is one of the few geographical areas where the rusty patched bumblebee can still be found.

Proactively taking Bombus affinis under their wing (so to speak), Minnesotans have jumped into action and crowned this plump and fuzzy pollinator as Minnesota’s State Bee.

Minnesota has earmarked $900k to help residents plant native gardens to support bees.

Money talks and Minnesotans and their legislators are speaking out for Bombus affinis. Through a series of bills, Governor Tim Walz earmarked $900,000 in the state budget to help residents convert their lawns into more bee-enticing and bee-safe meadow-like habitats. As part of the program, Minnesota will reimburse homeowners for 75 to 90 percent of the cost of growing bee-friendly gardens, reports Smithsonian.

Minnesota State Representative Kelly Morrison told the Star Tribune that she hopes the bee haven project will be up and running by spring of 2020. “We think that abundant and diverse floral resources will translate to larger and healthier rusty patched bumblebee colonies,” said Morrison.

“I have gotten a ton of emails and so much feedback from people who are interested in this,” she continued. “People are really thinking about how they can help.”

Native plants, including native grasses, purple prairie cover, Dutch white clover, wild lupine, bee balm, and creeping thyme are all attractive plants to the rusty patched bumblebee. While traditional, manicured, and non-native grass lawns are not. Plus, those types of non-native lawns present a lot of problems. They often require chemical fertilizers, pesticides, a lot of water to grow, and a lot of maintenance. (After all, they shouldn’t be there.)

Wild lupine, a wildflower that's popular with the rusty patched bumblebee
Wild lupine, a wildflower that’s popular with the rusty patched bumblebee. Photo: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Yards that are full of native wildflowers, trees, and shrubs are better adapted to local climate and precipitation conditions. In addition, they provide a natural habitat that local bees, other insects, birds, and other animals have already adapted to. Plus, the native plants themselves have adapted to local pests, so they don’t need pesticides or chemical fertilizers to grow.

Bumblebees are particularly vulnerable to pesticides and other toxins.

According to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, reports Smithsonian, bumblebees absorb toxins directly through their exoskeleton and through contaminated nectar and pollen. So, they’re particularly vulnerable to toxins in the form of pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Since rusty patched bumblebees nest in the ground, they’re susceptible to pesticides that persist in agricultural soils, lawns, and turf. In addition, bees are vulnerable to plants grown with genetically modified seeds.

Native plants simply make sense. And lawns full of wildflowers, bees, and local birds isn’t the only benefit of helping native species like bees to thrive. When we support pollinators, we also support the human food supply. Bumblebees pollinate crops including blueberries, cranberries, apples, and tomatoes. It’s hard to imagine life without those fruits, let alone butterflies and bees.

Enjoy Your Morning Joe in a 100% Biodegradable Coffee Cup

100% Biodegradable Coffee Cup Made with Coffee Grounds

A Berlin-based company has created a 100 percent biodegradable coffee cup that’s made with – what else? – recycled coffee grounds. The idea for Kaffeeform came to founder Julian Lechner while he was a product design student and drinking a lot of coffee. In an interview with Insider, Julian explained that he started wondering what happened to all of those used coffee grounds, and the idea for Kaffeeform was born.


Video courtesy of Insider.

Germans love their coffee, and Americans do too. According to the Huffington Post, Americans alone consume 400 million cups of coffee every day, which is the equivalent to 146 billion cups per year.

But all of those used coffee grounds aren’t the only waste problem that results from our love of coffee. It’s the disposable coffee cups. And, of course, those plastic lids.

Only 1% of disposable cups gets recycled.

Only 1 percent of paper, plastic, and foam coffee cups are recycled – the other 99 percent ends up in the landfill, or somewhere else it doesn’t belong. And it can take 20 years for a paper coffee cup to decompose. The problem is that paper coffee cups are not all paper. They’re coated with polyethylene, which is a plastic resin.

Most curbside recycling programs in the U.S. do not recycle paper cups with plastic coating. And because these cups have plastic in them, you should never put them in a compost bin, which adds plastic contamination to the soil.

As for the plastic lids that come with those not-really-disposable cups – they may never decompose, or at least not in your lifetime.

According to Starbucks, 600 billion paper and plastic cups are distributed globally ever year. And while Starbucks says their cups amount to 1 percent of that total, that’s still 6 billion cups and plastic lids!

Starbucks disposable coffee cups are contributing to climate change and the extinction crisis.

Starbucks is working on initiatives to make a more eco-friendly coffee cup, but as residents of Planet Earth, we don’t have time to wait for them to do so. The destructiveness of climate change is already well underway, and according to the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), every four disposable Starbucks cups contribute 1 pound of CO2 into the atmosphere when you factor in making and shipping the cups. So, this means that every year, Starbucks disposable coffee cups are dumping 1.5 billion pounds of CO2 into the atmosphere.

Shockingly, these cups are also contributing to the extinction crisis. For every Starbucks coffee cup produced and transported, we lose 0.93 square feet of natural habitat and 0.6 pounds of plant and animal life. EDF estimate that 1.7 billion paper coffee cups could trigger the extinction of an entire species. Or, in other words, in just one year, Starbucks coffee cups alone are possibly causing 3.5 species to go extinct.

We need 100% biodegradable coffee cups now.

100% Biodegradable Coffee Cup Made with Recycled Coffee Grounds

In light of all this, 100% biodegradable coffee cups are a mighty fine idea. Back in Berlin, when a small bicycle courier service heard about what Julian was doing with Kaffeeform, they reached out to him and offered their services. Today, the crew at Crow Cycle Courier Collective rides around Berlin to the city’s many coffee ships, gathering about 110 pounds of coffee grounds per day and delivers them to Kaffeeform’s warehouse.

The coffee grounds are then sorted and cleaned. Next, they’re transported to a manufacturing facility where they’re dried and blended with plant fibers, beechwood grains, and natural resins.

From there, the resin gets shaped under high heat and pressure. Six cups of coffee grounds will produce one espresso cup and a saucer. The resulting product is 40 percent coffee. And the entire product is 100 percent biodegradable.

Beyond coffee cups, Julian has plans for other coffee ground products, such as furniture. So, you could conceivably enjoy your morning almond latté from a coffee cup as you lounge on a coffee chaise, scrolling through your social accounts from your phone encased in a coffee phone case. Wait! There’s already a phone case made with coffee!

Recycled Coffee Grounds Phone Case

Scientists Remove 40 Tons of Ghost Nets and Plastic Pollution from the Pacific Gyre

Diver attaching GPS tracker to ghost fishing nets
Tavish Campbell attaches a GPS tracker to ghost fishing nets. Photo: Ocean Voyages Institute.

Forty years ago, people didn’t think about plastic pollution in the ocean. Fast forward to today, and it’s everywhere – in the bodies of dead whales and seabirds who wash up on the beach, and even in the deepest parts of the ocean – near the Mariana Trench at 36,000 feet below sea level.

A large concentration of ocean trash is caught in gyres (also referred to as vortices, or whirlpools), which are produced from ocean currents. There’s chemical sludge and other manmade debris in these gyres, and a very large proportion of the pollution is plastic.

One such gyre is in the Pacific Ocean between Hawaii and California. It’s known as the Pacific Gyre or the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, and it’s larger than the state of Texas.

This video from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) explains what the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is:

According to National Geographic and a study published in Nature, in 2018, there were about 79,000 metric tons of plastic in the Pacific Garbage Patch. This was 4-16 times larger than what was previously estimated, and the Patch was continuing to expand.

Much of the plastic pollution in the Pacific Gyre is microplastics – pieces of plastic that are less than five millimeters in length. There are roughly 1.8 trillion pieces of microplastic in the Pacific Gyre.

Discarded fishing nets and gear comprise 46% of the 79,000 metric tons of plastic pollution in the Pacific Garbage Patch.

It’s estimated that the plastic pollution in the Pacific Gyre weighs about 79,000 metric tons (or 79,000,000 kgs) and microplastics make up about 8 percent of that weight. Scientists estimate that 20 percent of the debris is from the 2011 Japanese tsunami. And 46 percent is from commercial fishing nets and fishing industry gear, including ropes, oyster spacers, eel traps, crates, and baskets.

Laurent Lebreton, an oceanographer with The Ocean Cleanup, a nonprofit that’s developing advanced technologies to reduce ocean plastic, and the lead author of the study in Nature, said “I knew there would be a lot of fishing gear, but 46 percent was unexpectedly high. Initially, we thought fishing gear would be more in the 20 percent range. That is the accepted number [for marine debris] globally – 20 percent from fishing sources and 80 percent from land.”

Scientist Use Drones and GPS Trackers to Find the Ghost Nets

Crew of the sailing cargo ship KWAI offloading tons ghost nets
Crew of the sailing cargo ship KWAI offloading tons reclaimed ghost nets. Photo: Roy Hollowell, courtesy of Hawaii News Now.

But thanks to scientists and activists from another nonprofit – Ocean Voyages Institute – as of June 18, 2019, about 40 fewer tons of fishing nets and other plastic pollution are in the Pacific Gyre.

During a 25-day ocean cleanup mission on the sailing cargo ship S/V KWAI, the Ocean Voyages (OV) team removed a whopping 40 tons of plastic pollution from the Pacific Gyre.

Here’s a video from GC Hustle Hawaii with some of the crew of the S/V KWAI before they set sail on the cleanup mission:

One of the team’s prime targets in the cleanup was discarded fishing nets, or ghost nets, which are made with nylon or polypropylene and can weigh in the tens of thousands of pounds. According to the United Nations, about 380,000 marine mammals are killed every year by either ingesting plastic pollution or by getting caught in these nets.

How did the OV team and KWAI crew successfully remove that much debris from the ocean? GPS tracking was a big part of the effort. During the year prior to the cleanup mission, OV recruited yachts and ships to attach GPS satellite trackers to any ghost nets they encountered in the ocean.

The size of bowling balls, the GPS trackers would signal the location of the drifting ghost nets in real-time. The OV team also enlisted the help of expert drone operators to conduct flying survey patterns off of both the KWAI and the OV Institute’s plastic survey vessel, AVEIA, to find more debris. Often, the areas where the team found the nets were concentrated with other heavy debris, so they were able to retrieve additional nets and even more trash.

“Satellite technology played a key role in our recovery effort, offering an innovative solution to finding areas of dense plastic pollution,” said Mary Crowley, the founder and executive director of the OV Institute. “The nets and other debris are signs of the proliferating plastic pollution that poses threats to marine life, coastal environments, shipping, fisheries, wildlife, and our health.”

Mary Crowley, founder and executive director of the Ocean Voyages Institute
Mary Crowley, founder and executive director of the Ocean Voyages Institute

Crowley is a lifelong sailor. In 2009, she launched her first 30-day research expedition and other cleanup missions occurred after that, each one increasing in scale.

“It is very disturbing to be sailing through what was only decades ago a pristine ocean wilderness and find it filled with our all-too-familiar garbage,” says Crowley. “Urgent action is needed at all levels: curtailing the manufacture of throwaway plastics, preventing plastic trash from entering the oceans, and enlisting the public, corporations, and the maritime industry in education, prevention, innovation, and massive cleanup efforts. The question is, are we ready to make it a priority to protect 72 percent of the planet?”

Crowley and the OV team are now planning an even larger ocean cleanup expedition. But they’ll need more reusable GPS trackers to do so, and each costs about $1,600.

“It’s our goal to have about 150 of them to hand out this year,” said Crowley. “Our plan is to duplicate this very successful mission next year for a three-month period.”

To learn more, visit Ocean Voyages Institute.

Biologist Invents Device to Save Animals from Swimming Pools

FrogLog Animal Swimming Pool Safety Device
FrogLog. Photo: Rich Mason.

In the summer of 2004, wildlife biologist Rich Mason received a phone call from a distraught friend because dozens of frogs were dying in the family’s swimming pool. They had tried saving the frogs with their debris net, but still many died. Rich talked with other friends who had pools and they were having the same experience. Not only were frogs dying in their pools, but friends also found mice, baby birds, moles, squirrels, bats, chipmunks, opossums, turtles, toads, and salamanders.

Just as it’s dangerous for a toddler to be near a pool unattended, with the animals, whether they were intentionally trying to get into the water or they fell in, too many were finding it impossible to get out.

When frogs, chipmunks, salamanders, or other animals enter a pool, they instinctually swim towards the pool wall to escape. According to Rich, the animals will circle around the edge of the pool trying to find a way out. Inevitably, they will overexert themselves trying to get out. This can cause them to drown or get sucked into the pool skimmer basket. And for frogs, toads, and salamanders – the chlorine in the pool can be deadly if they remain in the pool for too long because they have very permeable skin and thus the toxic chlorine can enter their bloodstream.

 

Finding a Solution to Save Animals from Pools

As a wildlife biologist, Rich was troubled by this and set out to find a solution. Other products were on the market, but they had too many shortcomings. So, Rich gathered materials, including foam, fabric, and mesh, plus a sewing machine, and he began to iterate on a design for a device that would help animals get out of a swimming pool safely. The ultimate design would enable any small animal to get on to an easy-access safety ledge and then have a bridge to safely get out of the pool.

When Rich finally came up with a working prototype, he tested it out. As a scientist, he wanted to ensure with a high degree of certainty that the device would be effective. So, he set up a funnel trap on top of the device that would temporarily capture the animals that used the device to escape the pool.

Over a period of 23 days, the early prototype of what would become the FrogLog helped save 47 American toads and three green frogs. Unfortunately, two dead American toads were found in the pool skimmer basket. Yet based on these results, Rich’s test showed the device to be 94% effective at allowing trapped amphibians to climb out of the swimming pool.

 

Here’s a video of frogs using the FrogLog:


Rich tested the FrogLog in other swimming pools. One user said she had not found any dead frogs or other small animals since she installed it in her pool earlier that summer. Before using the FrogLog, about six frogs would die in her pool every week. She also said that far fewer crickets were found in her pool. Another user noted that the combination of having the FrogLog installed and turning the electric pool skimmer off at night and helped to save more animals.

 

Here’s a video of ducklings using the FrogLog:

 

These are the types of animals who have used the FrogLog:

Frogs, toads, salamanders, bees, chipmunks, bats, small rabbits, squirrels, ducklings, birds, mice, small hedgehogs, lizards, snakes, small turtles, and geckos.

Rich’s mission with the FrogLog was to save as many small animals as possible while helping pool owners enjoy their pools to the fullest.

Mission accomplished!

You can purchase the FrogLog on Amazon or on the FrogLog website.

Price: ~$14.19

Buy Now on Amazon

Patagonia Vows to Be Carbon Neutral by 2025

Patagonia Trail Running GearA trailblazer in how to run an ecologically conscious company, Patagonia has just committed to even stronger environmental-protection initiatives. The company has vowed to be carbon neutral by the year 2025, they wrote on their website.

Patagonia plans to do this through a four-part process, which they explain on their website:

  1. Measure Our Impact. A third-party validated system is in place to measure our impacts so we can make informed decisions and track our progress.
  2. Reduce Our Impact. Avoid the need for energy where we can, improve efficiency where we can’t.
  3. Convert to Renewable Energy. Move away from fossil fuels to cleaner, renewable energy sources for everything we do.
  4. Capture Carbon. Invest and test ways to remove warming gases from the atmosphere (i.e. carbon insetting sequestration programs). Think of these efforts as the difference between stopping the mess and cleaning it up.

To become carbon neutral, Patagonia will double down on sustainability throughout their supply chain because, as the company’s CEO Rose Marcario said in the trade publication Retail Drive, “that’s where all the issues are.”

“We’ve done a lot on building those supply chains and I think we all have to come to the reality that we are not going to have virgin supply chains forever because we are running out of resources,” said Marcario. “And as much as we don’t want to face that or be in denial about it, it’s true. So, you have to be innovating.”

Patagonia Hemp Collection

Patagonia sources the most eco-friendly materials they can find or produce, including:

They also work with their supply chain partners to continually innovate on the materials front, such as recycling materials that are not traditionally recycled. The sunglasses that Patagonia sells, by Bureo, are made with recycled fishing nets – a major source of ocean pollution. Patagonia is also funding research to develop materials that are biobased, biodegradable, and even carbon-reduction positive.

Wearing used Patagonia clothing lowers the CO2, waste, and water footprint by 20-30%.

Patagonia Climbing Gear

Patagonia’s used clothing program, Worn Wear®, is also right in line with their carbon reduction efforts. It turns out that extending the life of clothing by an extra nine months of active use can reduce carbon, waste, and water footprints by around 20-30%. This is one reason the company focuses so much on creating durable, high-quality products.

In addition to the products and materials themselves, Patagonia’s operations are moving towards being carbon neutral. The company has 75 retail stores around the world, as well as seven regional headquarters and two distribution centers. They’ve always prioritized using existing vs. new buildings for their locations to keep their environmental footprint as low as possible. In addition, they have a set of sustainable building principles that include using energy efficiency technologies, renewable energy, and reclaimed materials.

Patagonia Water Sports

Read more about Patagonia’s initiatives to fight climate change at Patagonia.com.

Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour Raises $21.5M to Fight Climate Change with Guitar Auction

David Gilmour of Pink Floyd
David Gilmour in Munich, Germany, 2006. Photo: Deep Schismic.

David Gilmour of Pink Floyd has just auctioned off his extensive guitar collection, comprised of 126 instruments, for $21,490,750, reports CNN. This is the most comprehensive collection of guitars ever sold at auction, according to the auction house Christie’s. All proceeds from the auction will be donated to the nonprofit ClientEarth.

ClientEarth is a nonprofit that “uses the power of the law to protect the planet and the people who live on it,” says on the organization’s website. “We are lawyers and environmental experts who are fighting against climate change and to protect nature and the environment.”

On Twitter, David said he decided to direct the proceeds from the auction to fight climate change because “the global climate crisis is the greatest challenge that humanity will ever face, and we are within a few years of the effects of global warming being irreversible.”

Here’s David talking about what inspired him to auction his guitar collection:

Here’s a guided tour of the guitar collection:

ClientEarth’s CEO, James Thornton, said of the monumental donation, “This is a truly humbling and extraordinary gift, which goes beyond our wildest expectations. It’s difficult to express just how deeply grateful we are to David for choosing ClientEarth as the beneficiary of this historic auction.”

Beautiful Roof Garden Sanctuaries Around the World

Roof Garden at the California Academy of Sciences
The roof garden at the California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco.

As the global population surges and the Earth gets even more crowded with human beings, it can be hard to be us. And, it’s even harder to be a wild animal. Heck, it’s even hard to be an insect or a plant these days because of what we humans are doing to natural habitats.

We need to get busy. We need to curb our population growth. We need to lower our CO2 emissions. We need to preserve the last remaining wild habitats for our fellow Earthlings – the living creatures with whom we share this planet. Essentially, we need to help each other thrive.

Some solutions to these challenges are complicated – like how to enlighten and motivate people who prefer to live in apathetic denial. But other solutions are as simple as putting a seed in some soil. And maybe that’s how we solve the more complex problems too, as all groundswells start with a little seed of a thought.

It turns out that people from Brooklyn to Beijing and in between are sharing the same seed of a thought – and that’s to plant rooftop gardens. This makes total sense because roof gardens do a lot of good. They:

  • Give people access to nature where they otherwise would have none.
  • Feed people.
  • Provide safe landing places for birds and insects who are just trying to survive in the concrete jungle.
  • Help to fight climate change by turning large areas that would normally be absorbing solar radiation into green spaces that absorb CO2.

Here’s a collection of roof gardens to inspire you to support urban gardening in your own community.

Toronto


In this video, published by Exploring Alternatives, students at Ryerson University in Toronto turned the roof of a campus building into a food-growing farm. Their thriving rooftop farm already produces over 10,000 pounds of fruits and vegetables, which they sell at the local farmers’ market.

 

Los Angeles


Corey Brill, the actor who plays Pete Anderson on The Walking Dead, is also a beekeeper. Keeping bees has been a long time passion, but doing it in LA presented some unique challenges. In this video, presented by Flow Hive, Corey talks about how he does it.

 

Barcelona


In this video, gardening media company Epic Gardening traveled to Barcelona to visit an urban gardening and ecological design company called Eix Verd, or Green Path.

 

Brooklyn


Urban Gardener, a program presented by Spaces TV, is a video series that explores green spaces in city environments. In this episode, they visit a roof deck in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY.

 

Brooklyn


Artist and urban gardener Rossana Martinez talks about her own rooftop garden in Brooklyn. This video is presented by Gardener’s Supply Company.

 

Beijing


In an effort to fight rising temperatures, China offers government subsidies to people who build roof gardens on public buildings. Green spaces on rooftops help to reduce the heat from the sun’s rays while absorbing CO2 from the atmosphere. Local residents are also getting in on the action, putting rooftop gardens on the buildings they live in. This video from China Icons talks about China’s Green Roof Revolution.

 

Multiple Locations


This video, from RunmanReCords, displays a variety beautiful rooftop garden ideas.

 

More Beautiful Roof Gardens Around the World

London

London’s Highest Roof Garden
London’s Highest Roof Garden Near Battersea Power Station. Photo: Grain London Ltd.

This image is a design for what will be London’s highest rooftop green space – a park on top of buildings that will be located next to Battersea Power Station. The buildings should be completed by mid-2021, reports the Evening Standard.

The green space will have sun decks, fitness areas, and a place to watch outdoor movies.

To date, all of London’s rooftop green spaces cover nearly 400 acres, an area larger than Hyde Park.

 

Tokyo

Herb garden at the National Museum of Nature and Science, Tokyo.
Herb garden at the National Museum of Nature and Science, Tokyo.

 

Santiago de Cuba

Casa Grande Hotel in Santiago de Cuba.
The Casa Grande Hotel in Santiago de Cuba.

 

Singapore

Herb garden of National Museum of Nature and Science, Tokyo
Herb garden of National Museum of Nature and Science, Tokyo.

 

Singapore

The Esplanade Roof Garden, Singapore.
The Esplanade Roof Garden, Singapore. Photo: Erwin Soo.

 

Dhaka

Dhaka, Bangladesh
Dhaka, Bangladesh. Photo: Rafiq Azam.

 

A Mysterious Location

 

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Amsterdam

 

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Berlin

 

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Chicago

 

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Rooftop Gardening Books

Here are some top-rated books about roof gardens that include both designs ideas and how-to tips for growing your own.

Rooftop Garden Design by David Fletcher

Rooftop Garden Design by David Fletcher

 

Rooftop Garden DesignGet it on Amazon >>

 

Rooftop Gardens: The Terraces, Conservatories, and Balconies of New York by Denise LeFrak Calicchio, Roberta Amon, and Norman McGrath

Rooftop Gardens: The Terraces, Conservatories, and Balconies of New YorkGet it on Amazon >>

 

Projects for Building Your Backyard Homestead by David Toht

Projects for Building Your Backyard Homestead Get it on Amazon >>

 

Gardening Supplies

Organic, Non-GMO Seeds

Organic, Non-GMO Seeds